Name: Velda Ruddock
Title: Director of Intelligence, TBWA Chiat/Day
Has Held Title For: 3 years
With the Company For: 4 years
Previous Job: Information Disseminist
Degree: BA, Social Science; MA, Library and Information Science
When account executives at TBWA Chiat/Day want to know something — from what is sexy to how to keep people out of jail — they consult Central Intelligence. As the firm's Director of Intelligence, Velda Ruddock (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains vast files on markets, clients, and competitors from a high-tech wing in the ad agency's flashy Venice, California headquarters.
Why does an advertising agency need its own CIA?
Intelligence is not just providing data or synthesizing information. It's about thinking and linking the right things together to move forward.
So intelligence isn't just another name for research?
Right. We're detectives. It's about getting beyond what we know we don't know to what we don't know we don't know.
How do you know when you're on to something?
The hair raises up on my arms when all the pieces suddenly fall into place — often simply by turning a question on its side. Such as when, for United Airlines, we investigated different cultural attitudes toward flying. I asked how flying fits into people's dreams. Are they flying? Or are they flown?
What's the best training for an intelligence officer?
It's in the blood. I ask questions of everybody. I also read lots of mysteries and watch "The X-Files."
A version of this article appeared in the Feb/Mar 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.