Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland to Give Keynote at Lighting Research Center’s 25th Anniversary

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer is pleased to announce Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, will give the keynote at the 25th Anniversary Celebration, March 20, 2013 in Troy, N.Y., as part of the Lighting Value Forum. The topic for the Lighting Value Forum keynote and panel presentation is the value of lighting and the notion that society undervalues light, largely because we do not properly measure its benefits. A full list of the Council on Value, charged with developing the Lighting Value Forum panel presentation, will be announced next month.


Sutherland will give a talk on the value of lighting, along the same lines as his well-known TED talk Life lessons from an ad man. “When you learn to place a material value on what you’ve previously discounted for being merely intangible—you realize you’re much, much wealthier than you ever imagined,” said Sutherland at the TED talk.


Sutherland was born in Usk, Monmouthshire in 1965 and joined 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—Sutherland joined the agency’s Creative Department as a junior copywriter, working on American Express, Royal Mail, and an obscure American company called Microsoft. By an amazing stroke of luck—his brother is an academic—Sutherland first used the Internet in 1987. Hence he had the advantage of knowing what it was and what it might do a few years ahead of many colleagues. In early 1993, he and his art director suggested that perhaps Microsoft might extend sales of its Office suite by bundling it with “a modem thing” hence enabling people to share their files over something called the Internet. This was eventually presented to some people in Redmond, W.A., who rightly decided it was a very silly idea indeed. Happily, that wasn’t his last foray online. He achieved a certain international notoriety in 1996 when his credit card details were stolen during an online purchase of chili sauce. Perhaps surprisingly, then, he remains an enthusiastic advocate of new media and new means of advertising and customer engagement. Sutherland was appointed Creative Director in 1997, Executive Creative Director in 2002, and in 2005, became Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK.

Tickets for the Lighting Research Center’s 25th Anniversary Celebration are now available at http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/25/registration.asp.