HONG KONG (AdAge.com) -- Hong Kong-based luxury-hotel chain Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has moved its estimated $10 million global creative account from its longtime agency, M&C Saatchi International, to London Advertising, making it the most high-profile win yet for the unconventional 4-month-old start-up.
The move isn't a surprise. London Advertising was founded in November 2008 by two well-known former M&C Saatchi execs, Michael Moszynski and Alan Jarvie. The pair were CEO and creative director, respectively, of M&C Saatchi's Hong Kong office when the agency won the Mandarin Oriental business in 1998, and they have remained close to the advertiser.
Small yet global
Now they are building a London-based agency that can deliver global creative work and client management through a small team in London and alliances with Splash, a 40-person print-production company, and TextAppeal, a business with planners and copywriters all over the world.
"Our three companies can deliver pretty much what a network can for any location, and strip out a lot of the costs," Mr. Moszynski said.
His agency's website, londonadvertising.com, for instance, includes a "production cost saving" calculator into which clients can plug their current pre-production spending and calculate how much working with London Advertising would save them. "We've guaranteed no markup on any production, so it's about half the price of a network agency," he said.
(Given the creative ambitions of many London agencies, Mr. Moszynski was surprised the URL londonadvertising.com was available. He quickly registered others, like londonnewyorkadvertising.com.)
M&C Saatchi was the architect of the Mandarin Oriental hotel group's 9-year-old "Fan" campaign, in which the chain's fan-shaped logo and slogan, "I'm a fan," runs under stylish photographs of celebs such as Elle Macpherson, Lance Armstrong and Sigourney Weaver.
Brief non-compete clause
Messrs. Moszynski and Jarvie were able to quickly pick up an M&C Saatchi client such as Mandarin Oriental because they had only a three-month non-compete agreement with the agency. That was a legacy of a major legal battle over employment contracts in London in 1995, when Saatchi & Saatchi founders Maurice and Charles Saatchi left to start M&C Saatchi with key executives from their former agency. The court fight left the Saatchis with a low opinion of non-compete agreements.
Previously Mr. Moszynski ran M&C Saatchi's operations in the Middle East and Africa from London and was CEO of its integrated-marketing sibling, Immediate Sales, while Mr. Jarvie's positions include creative director at M&C Saatchi in Santa Monica, Calif.
Although not unexpected, the Mandarin move is a blow to M&C's Hong Kong office. The agency will continue to handle some tactical work, but Mandarin was a major account for the independent agency at a time when marketers in Hong Kong are dramatically cutting back on ad budgets. The territory's economy is largely dependent on financial services and real estate, both sectors that have been hit hard by the global recession.
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Contributing: Laurel Wentz