Rory Sutherland

Ogilvy UK | Vice Chairman

Rory is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK, an attractively vague job title which has allowed him to co-found a behavioral science practice within the agency.

He works with a consulting practice of psychology graduates who look for ‘unseen opportunities’ in consumer behaviour - these are the often small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make - for instance tripling the sales rate of a call centre by adding just a few sentences to the script. Put another way, lots of agencies will talk about "bought, owned and earned" media: we also look for "invented media" and "discovered media": seeking out those unexpected (and inexpensive) contextual tweaks that transform the way that people think and act.

It is a hugely valuable activity - but, alas, not particularly lucrative. This is because clients generally do not have budgets for solving problems they did not know they had.

Before founding Ogilvy’s Behavioural Practice, Rory was a copywriter and creative director at Ogilvy for over 20 years, having joined as a graduate trainee in 1988. He has variously been President of the IPA, Chair of the Judges for the Direct Jury at Cannes, and has spoken at TED Global. He writes regular columns for the Spectator, Management today and Impact, and also occasional pieces for Wired. He is the author of three books: ‘The Wiki Man,’ available on Amazon (at prices between £1.96 and £2,345.54, depending on whether the algorithm is having a bad day), the best-selling ‘Alchemy, The surprising Power of Ideas which don't make Sense,’ published in multiple countries and, co-written with his former colleague Pete Dyson, ‘Transport For Humans’ on the behavioural science of transport. He is the host on the podcast OnBrand with ALF and he has joined forces with MAD//Masters to lead a 12 week CPD accredited personal development programme to help marketers adapt, make sense of accelerated disruption and use the tried and tested recipe of using creativity, innovation and behavioural science to their competitive advantage.

Rory is married to a vicar and has twin daughters. He lives in the former home of Napoleon III - unfortunately in the attic. He is a trustee of the Benjamin Franklin House in London, on the Development committee of the National Gallery and a Patron of Rochester Cathedral.

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