Advertising Execs Scramble to Cope With Trade Center Disaster

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NEW YORK ( -- The global Procter & Gamble meeting was getting under way this morning at Saatchi & Saatchi's Hudson Street office in
Smoke and dust engulf lower Manhattan as the World Trade Center Towers collapsed.
See large version of photo.
lower Manhattan when word came that a plane had crashed into the world trade center, clearly visible through the agency's huge glass windows.

"People ran to this side of the building and saw the north building blown out and flames coming out and smoke," said Tim Love, Saatchi manager partner, who was in the P&G meeting. "You couldn't see a plane. Then the others saw a plane and thought at first was coming to help but it flew low into the second building. Then they witnessed the north building completely collapsing. Then the second building collapsed. As I look down at what was on Wall Street, it's not there any more."

Looking out his 16th floor window, Mr. Love said that at first he saw legions of people walking up the street from the Wall Street area but that the flow was soon replaced by emergency vehicles as ferries apparently started evacuating people from the fincial district.

'We'll try to help them'
"Some clients were traveling to our office today," he said. "We reached them and notified them

Photo: AP..
One of the two World Trade Center towers collapsing this morning.
that they could come and stay here. And we'll try to help them with their needs. We have notified clients from Wall Street offices, like PaineWebber, that if they're walking up town, they are welcome to stop here to use phones or the cafeteria."

Mr. Love said the disaster was very distressing for the people who saw it, and that employees are being encouraged to call a 24-hour employee-assistance program.

Locked down
Mr. Love said he and six of the managing partners from the New York agencies were in the building along with CEO Kevin Roberts, who was leading the P&G meeting. He said the Saatchi building has been locked down but security staff were instructed to let people with IDs back in if they were unable to get home.

Some of the visiting international staff were able to extend their hotel stays and Saatchi employees were volunteering to take in others.

Saatchi issued a statement this morning that was distributed internally and to its clients saying that "Today's events are distressing to all citizens of the world. Words can not express or capture the deep sense of tragedy and loss we all feel. There is much uncertainy. We are attempting to take control of that which we cannot control, remaining calm and sensitive to each other's feelings is paramount."

"Saatchi & Saatchi offices will remain open as a haven for employeees who want to stay," he said.

Mr. Love said Saatchi plans to reopen for normal business Thursday at 9 a.m. He was still hoping to give a speech Thursday to a group of P&G marketing directors at a meeting at Disney in Orlando, Fla. Mr. Love said he hasn't canceled plans to fly to Florida on Wednesday.

In Midtown, TBWA/Chiat/Day sent most people home and issued instructions to funnel everything through its Los Angeles office, a spokesman said. On West 49th Street, Oglivy & Mather evacuated 11 floors.

Heard the news from London
At Bates on 7th Avenue and 36th St., a Bates spokeswoman said her department first heard the news from the London office. "They called and said, 'Did you hear about the World Trade Center?'" she said.

Everyone ran to the roof, and watched as the World Trade Center collapsed. She said the employees at Bates was safe.

"At 10:30 a.m. staff were told to do what they want," she said. "People seemed to be staying because a lot of people can't leave. People are informally offering their homes."

"We have people stranded on the runway," she said. "A bunch of our executives are on the runway at Kennedy trying to go to London."

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