The Queen’s Gambit writer to honour fellow Scot in festival lecture - Graeme Atha

The Ogilvy Lecture is one of the main events at The Marketing Society’s Amplify Festival which takes place this year during the last week of August.

Allan Scott – Co-writer and Producer of The Queen’s Gambit in conversation with Sophie Devonshire, CEO of The Marketing Society.

This annual lecture is a tribute to David Ogilvy, a proud and passionate Scot who founded the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency in New York in 1948, which he then developed as part of the WPP group and one of the biggest marketing services networks in the world.

This year we have renamed the lecture The Ogilvy Gambit in honour of our special guest speaker, Allan Scott, the co-writer and producer of the hit Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Another Scot, Allan has spent his career zig-zagging between business and the creative industries. As well as playing a leading role in Scottish based media organisations he has written or co-written more than a dozen films including Don’t Look Now, the 1973 thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. He also took Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the drag-show musical from its debut in Australia to the West End and Broadway.

Allan’s family had a shareholding in The Macallan, one of Speyside’s most respected single malt distilleries and when his brother died in 1978, he took over as Executive Chairman.

During his tenure the share price multiplied several hundred times, and he was responsible for the highly effective advertising campaign – The Macallan, The Malt which helped build the foundations for the successful global brand it has become.

Allan bought the rights to The Queen’s Gambit more than 30 years ago and there were numerous failed attempts to turn it into a film before Netflix saw the potential and it has subsequently become their most-watched mini-series as well as picking up numerous industry awards.

The Ogilvy Gambit will feature Allan in conversation with advertising legend and Vice Chair at Ogilvy UK, Rory Sutherland and the CEO of The Marketing Society, Sophie Devonshire. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session with guests.

The Client vs Agency Creative Challenge is another annual feature of our festival. A team of client representatives led by Stuart MacKenzie of Tennent’s will take on the agency team captained by Morna McLelland of Stripe. Each team member will pitch award winning marketing campaigns from across the world with the audience voting for the winner in each pair before going on to decide the best overall idea.

Wrapping up the festival week will be the Big Fat Marketing Pub Quiz with teams competing in person at Lulu, beneath Tigerlily on George Street, Edinburgh. Teams can also participate on Zoom from their local pubs across the UK. Entry is by donation to the Hospitality Action charity and is part of our Marketing On Tap initiative where our members are encouraged to support the hospitality sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

As well as the main events of Amplify there will also be two “fringe” events, one on climate change and the other will be a workshop for our Future Leader members on debating skills. You can find out more information on Amplify and details of how to book tickets at

Graeme Atha – Director The Marketing Society


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.