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IDM Annual Lecture 2014: Rory Sutherland Hon F IDM


Daniel Kahneman was once asked whether there was a "System One Business". He answered "Advertising... and politics." Rory Sutherland thinks he is right. And that as one of the few sectors of business which acknowledges and seeks to understand the role of the unconscious, this potentially gives marketers a new and wider role.

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There are two fundamentally different types of human thought process: System One and System Two. System One is instinctive, automatic, fast and can’t be switched off. System Two is slower, deliberate, requires effort and can be controlled.

Rory is well-known for his position that instinctive, emotional reactions (System One) have more influence over customer buying decisions than deliberate, rational and considered ones (System Two). At this year’s IDM Annual Lecture he puts the case for the System One Business, where the power for business decision-making is less in the hands of the “arithmocrats” and where more influence is given to those who understand human behaviour.

Hear why his two mantras at Ogilvy Change are “Test counterintuitive things” and “Dare to be trivial”, and listen to his compelling case for more System One thinking in business. Be prepared. Your own thinking will be seriously challenged – and you may not even realise…

Guest Speaker

r suthweb gifRory Sutherland Hon F IDM, Vice-Chairman - Ogilvy & Mather UK.

Think Rory Sutherland and think entertaining, hilarious, charming, compelling, engaging, convincing influential, persuasive, significant, celebrated, outstanding… the list goes on. One thing is absolutely for sure. Attend this year’s IDM Annual Lecture and you’re guaranteed content of unequalled substance and a speaker of legendary brilliance.

Born in Usk, Monmouthshire in 1965, Rory read Classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge, before joining Ogilvy as a Graduate Trainee in 1988.

After 18 months spent as the world’s worst account handler (as a desperate remedial measure he was once booked onto a time management course, but got the date wrong) Rory became a copywriter in June 1990.

He has worked on Amex, BT, Compaq, Microsoft, IBM, BUPA, easyJet, Unilever, winning a few awards along the way. He was appointed Creative Director of OgilvyOne in 1997 and ECD in 1998. In 2005 he was appointed Vice Chairman on the Ogilvy Group in the UK in recognition of his improved timekeeping.

By an amazing stroke of luck (his brother is an academic) Rory first used the Internet in 1987. Hence he had the advantage in 1994 of knowing what it was and what it might do a few years ahead of many colleagues. Most people would have combined this knowledge of marketing and technology to make a fortune; not Rory. Instead he became the first Briton to have his credit card details stolen online, thereby losing £22.45.

In his spare time, Rory collects self-aggrandising job titles. He was President of the Direct Jury at Cannes in 2007, and was elected President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in 2009 for two years. Rory is also a visiting professor of Warwick University and was awarded an honorary doctorate (D. Litt) by Brunel University in 2012. He is also the Technology Correspondent of the Spectator, the world’s oldest English language magazine.

Rory is married with twin daughters of 12 (Hetty and Millie) and lives in the former home of Napoleon III in Brasted in Kent. Unfortunately in the attic.

Here are some of our favourite quotes and opinions from the inimitable Rory Sutherland.

On objectivity
Objectivity as an ideology forgets that a thing’s value is defined, not by an innate quality, but by our emotional relationship to it.

On imagination
In a world where the last thing we need is more stuff, wouldn’t it be better to raise the imaginative potential of what we’ve already got?

On simplicity
Many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers.

On bad customer service
We accept appalling products or services simply because we have become inured to them.

On direct marketing
Clients - especially senior clients - are absolutely fascinated by direct marketing.... measurement, audience definition, segmentation, all that stuff. Just so long as you never, ever call it direct marketing.

On a marketer's job
Your job is not only to be good at what you do, but to be better at it than you were last year.


18.30Arrival, registration, refreshments
19.00IDM Annual Lecture 2014: Rory Sutherland Hon F IDM
20.00Drinks Networking Reception


feedbackLast year 93.8% of evaluations rated the lecture "excellent" or "very good". Here’s what some of our audience said last year:

"IDM is a class apart from the rest. A brand that has no peers worth comparing to "IDM you rock" - keep leading us and we will happily follow."

"I always enjoy the Annual Lecture, my mind is full of ideas to take forward "

"The whole event has been brilliant. The lecture itself was extremely interesting and everyone has been very helpful"

DrinksMBN blue logo annual lecture web gif Sponsor

MBN Solutions is one of Europe’s leading Digital, Data and Analytics recruitment and people solutions consultancies. We work extensively with market leading providers of Digital and Data services, new order agencies and large corporates building their in-house capability. 

Having invested heavily in tracking and identifying organisational challenges and staffing needs, we source the best staff to solve complex and unanswered insight issues.  Operating globally, we habitually find ways we can help our clients to deliver their own strategic goals through access to the very best candidates and innovative solutions.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Attending this event contributes two hours under the "Event participation" category towards your annual IDM CPD Award. This event also qualifies towards CIM, IPA and other CPD schemes and we are happy to provide supporting evidence for your records. Contact the membership team on +44 (0)20 8614 0277 or email membership@theidm.comafter attending the event.

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