SAATCHI & SAATCHI

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Agency Rating: 2 1/2

Once again, Saatchi & Saatchi notched up its new business billings while sticking to CEO Kevin Robert's grand plan: win additional accounts from existing clients. In 1999, Saatchi gained business from clients including Procter & Gamble Co., General Mills and Eastman Kodak Co.

A blow to the agency was the loss of Delta Air Lines, but the New York office did come back in the travel category, landing the creative and planning assignment for Carnival Cruise Lines. Saatchi came out on the winning end in the account consolidation after the Unum Provident merger, and also edged its way onto Glaxo Wellcome's roster with its win of the anti-influenza inhalant Relenza. In the client departures category, the agency resigned its Right Guard business when it won the global Old Spice account from P&G.

On the creative front, kudos to Saatchi for casting the ideal actor to personify the flu -- Wayne Knight, the noisome Newman on "Seinfeld." Print work for Tide was notable, but standout creative for non package goods, such as Beck's 1998 campaign, was rare. In offices such as San Francisco, it has shored up its creative product. Overall questions about the agency's ongoing independence in the age of consolidation remain.

Looking Forward

Saatchi needs to resolve contract issues with Toyota Motor Sales USA. To a lesser extent, it must deal with the lack of a strong creative leader in its Torrance, Calif. office. Also, the agency is expected to launch the creative debut of a follow-up to last year's Beck's campaign.

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