NEW YORK: Ogilvy and Mather, the advertising, marketing and PR group, is set to launch a new unit, Ogilvy Earth, which will be based in 30 offices around the world and focus on issues relating to sustainability, as its seeks to move beyond its current role and become a "business accelerator".

The company, part of the WPP Group, was recently appointed to develop a campaign heightening awareness of a UN conference that is to be held in Copenhagen later this year, aiming to galvanise consumers, the private and public sectors to take a more active role in countering climate change.

It has also previously worked on environmentally-focused communications such as "Beyond Petroleum" for BP, the oil giant, and "Smart Planet" for IBM, the solutions and services provider.

According to Miles Young, the agency network's chief executive, the move is intended to position Ogilvy as "business accelerators", a role that agencies have surrendered in recent times.

Young argued that the "industry as a whole has slightly dumbed down, so at one point management consultants were making serious attacks on some of the roles of communications agencies."

However, as "their attacks have receded," there are now "opportunities to make incursions into their territory" and "move back to being a partner at an intellectual level with our clients."

O&M's new approach has also been prompted by broader changes in consumer behaviour, as the "view of taking a message and shooting it at people is shifting to a new world where communications is about content and content knows no boundaries."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff