In the spirit of David Ogilvy, the network honours the sell

What is salesmanship? Back in vogue, according to Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of Ogilvy Group U.K.

The network announced the winner of its World's Greatest Salesperson contest today in a full session at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

The results come after a programme spanning several months encouraging entrants to sell a brick, and post the results online. The YouTube-based contest drew 234 entrants from 12 countries.

At a Palais-hosted finale three remaining contestants didn't have to sell a brick, but a Motorola Android phone, and one by one they came on stage and pitched the phone to the audience.

Sutherland introduced the candidates, giving a quick overview on the gulf between appraisal and desire and provoking an action - the latter being the sales bit - where there lay the opportunity for the right pitch to help consumers bridge the gap between the lives they led and the lives they wished to lead.

'Active behavioural change requires salesmanship', he said. 'To actually generate change in the world, this is as important a quality and skill as anything else'.

A winner emerged in the form of sports psychologist and motivational speaker Todd Herman, from Alberta, Canada, who emphasised the device's speed to earn over 50% of the vote. Brian Featherstone, CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, said 'We're so interested in where selling will go in the 21st century, so we're hiring Todd to join us on a fellowship at OgilvyOne'. The goal will be to develop a white paper on the future of selling.

Mat Zucker, executive creative director of OgilvyOne, who came up with the idea, announced it will be continued in an episodic online reality show, along with MSN and production company Generate. 'It takes something we think is so important, being great persuaders, and brings it out to the general public'. he said.

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