Jimmy Savile The Great Ad Man – By @orla27marie

Orla O'Connor

By Orla O’Connor


Jimmy Savile The Great Ad Man


Firstly don’t get me wrong I am definitely not in support of Savile’s actions.  But at SCA we are taught to find inspiration that helps clarify our learning.  I could not help but find clarity with some of the advertising techniques that we have been taught and Savile’s behaviour, as I watched Louis Theroux documentary on BBC about Jimmy Savile.


Create a brand personality.  We are always told to create work that is authentic to a brand.  There are certain brands that can get away with certain things.  For example if Natwest had drove a truck through the Jungle in Calais with a jump on sign on there would have been war; but when Paddy Power do it ….genius.  Certain personalities can do certain things Savile was a brand.  A sleazy, slimy man, that openly leered at women, but he was forgiven for all this because it was just Savile, he can get away from it.  He was true and authentic to his brand.  


Corporate Social Responsibility  campaigns do work.  Savile’s seemingly only redeeming feature was his charity work.  What’s more his CSR work was all relevant to his brand.  He in fact used these campaigns to set up his abuse.  They also simultaneously lifted him to star status that meant he couldn’t have been accused of his wrong doings.  Seeing any similarities in big business today?


Don’t lie.  Savile should have been a strategist.  He was great at rephrasing and avoiding the question.  He would re-position a question to give the answer he wanted to give without telling a direct lie.  He made people see what he was doing in a new light.  There was one particular moment of the documentary that stuck with me, and I’m paraphrasing but Savile to a story where a police officer rang Savile and said he should stay away from his daughter when she is in the studio.  Savile replied with you rather I leave her for the other guys, the officer apologized!


Build the right network and use it.  Savile was very careful who he was friends with.  He would befriend hospital staff to find out who was vulnerable and therefore could be a victim.  He also created an elaborate network of high public figures from the royal family to prime ministers.  This in turn fed back into his untouchable reputation and his personal brand, and is the reason many victims felt they couldn’t come forward.  But if you are looking for a networking masterclass there is no better one.  Build connections in the right place, and then know exactly what your connections know so you can call on the right one a the right time when you need help.  


Savile will forever be remembered as a monster, but I think it is important to learn from even a monster like Savile.  As horrific as his actions were, he was definitely a master in his field and there is a wealth of knowledge there that can be applied to create a more positive output.  


Link to the episode:


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