Marketers should learn to take more calculated risks and think of digital as a valuable experimental space akin to a flight simulator, according to Ogilvy Vice-chair Rory Sutherland. 

Speaking to MAD//Insight ahead of this April’s MAD//Masters By Rory Sutherland, he said: “Does the marketing industry play it too safe? And should we take more risks? Yes, we should take more risks, but we should take calculated risks. 

“I'm not suggesting that if you run a brand like Surf that you should bet the farm on some insane route when you already have 80% of a given market. What I am saying is that digital, even though it may not be utterly brilliant at building brands, in some instances, is nevertheless an extraordinarily valuable experimental space.

"And what we've done, I think, is we've tried to use digital effectively, to optimise digital. The way we should be using digital is the way pilots use flight simulators. It's to do the things that are actually too dangerous to do at a vast scale in the real world, but which can actually give you very valuable learnings,” he added.

Created and hosted by Sutherland, MAD//Masters is an online course for marketers who want to use creativity, behavioural science and innovation to address the challenges created by mass disruption.

Featuring on-demand lectures, live seminars, and an in-person meet-up and masterclass from Rory at MAD//Fest London (4-6 July), the CPD-accredited course has been purposely designed for brand and agency marketers, b2b specialists, commercial leaders and founders.

Enrol here for the spring MAD//Masters By Rory Sutherland course for just £995 + VAT and get a complimentary ticket to MAD//Fest London worth £650.