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Savage Response, To Ogilvy PR Heritage Claim

Serious questions are being raised about the credentials of former PR executive Chris Savage after marketing web site Mumbrella claimed recently that he founded Ogilvy PR.

Yesterday Savage used an opinion piece in Mumbrella to speculate what could happen to the advertising and marketing industry in Australia in light of the Coronavirus epidemic.

The piece claims Chris Savage was part of STW (now WPP) as it faced the GFC while also pumping up his credentials.

The editorial had a caption on the bottom claiming that he was the founder of Ogilvy PR in Australia.

This is not the case and never was the case.

When this was pointed out to Mumbrella, via a comment piece online, the comment was later removed.

Now running a business called the Savage Co Chris Savage claims on his own web site to have only had 25 years in the PR business and denies any knowledge of the heritage of Ogilvy PR he claims the business was founded in 2000 and not 1984.

Ogilvy PR was founded in 1984 when then advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather acquired a highly successful Melbourne based PR Company called Weston Communications which was the appointed PR Company for brands such as Shell, AAMI, Dulux, Sanyo as well as, Hertz, Texas Instruments and several other global brands.

At the time Michael Ball who eventually became my boss was the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Rennie Cunnock was the Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Australia in Australia.

The founding of Ogilvy PR was 10 years before Savage was even in the PR business.

Between 1985 and 1995 when Savage claims he started in the PR the business O&M PR  had already became one of the most successful divisions of Ogilvy & Mather.

After Ogilvy purchased Weston Communications which at the time was a Melbourne based PR agency that I owned, O&M then acquired Sydney based PR Company Doughty Communications owned by Martin Doughty.

At the time I owned Weston Communications and between Martin Doughty and I, we quickly got Ogilvy PR into the number three slot behind the then number one PR Company IPR and the then number two PR Company Burson Marsteller.

In 1985 I went to London to help Ogilvy & Mather restructure the London Office of Ogilvy PR, I then quit the business because at the time we were performing significantly better than the O&M operation in Australia per employee.

Hours before, I left Ogilvy PR to establish DWR Communications in Sydney, I was approached by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in New York to stay.

They wanted me to establish a new business in Sydney linked with Michael Ball.

Michael Ball days later quit Ogilvy & Mather, taking with him a global advertising agency owned by Ogilvy & Mather called Meridian he later rebranded that agency The Ball Partnership.

Michael and a Finance Director Maurice Morgan, wanted me to  establish Ball PR, we chose instead to work directly with Ball Partnership clients.

At the time Ogilvy PR was more profitable than either the Sydney or Melbourne offices of Ogilvy & Mather, this led to a major falling out with management running the Ogilvy & Mather operation in Australia because a small PR Company with 8 staff was outperforming two offices of Ogilvy & Mather with more than 100 staff.

Below is a story that appeared in 1986 in BRW the story was also reported in the Australian newspaper.

Today Chris Savage claims he is a world-renowned motivational keynote speaker, who speaks at major conferences and corporate events across Australia and the world.

He responded to our emails claiming that “Sadly, David whatever you are referring to must have gone bust and out of business many years ago. Certainly, no-one at Ogilvy in the past 20 years has ever mentioned it or recalls it. Ogilvy PR in its current form started in 2000. I was the first employee and CEO. It’s first investment was in a business I founded concurrently’.

Savage who appears to not even know about the history of Ogilvy PR has not explained how in 2000, the business had accounts such as AAMI, BMW and Shell all clients of Weston Communications in 1985 and eventually Ogilvy PR.

Maybe he should research businesses he is involved with before he uses them to promote his own self interests.

Savage is also a Partner and Chairman of communications agencies, including K3 Investor & Corporate Relations, The 6AM Agency, and Bastion Brands.

Mumbrella has not commented on why the correction comment was removed or why they claim Savage was the founder of Ogilvy PR.

Back in 2018, Ogilvy PR Australia rebranded to opr and established itself as a separate entity within WPP AUNZ.

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