The Advertising Century

Maurice and Charles Saatchi

Published on .

Maurice and Charles Saatchi
(1946- ) and (1943- )
Saatchi & Saatchi, London

With the award-winning London agency they opened in September 1970, "the" brothers went on a 16-year acquisition spree that created the world's largest marketing conglomerate and permanently altered and redefined the U.S. advertising landscape. The Saatchis' unprecedented U.S. invasion and acquisition frenzy, essentially driven by a compulsion to be No. 1, involved dozens of companies, including Backer & Spielvogel, Compton Advertising, Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample and Ted Bates Worldwide, as well as research, PR, sales promotion and consultancy firms. And the brothers' financial officer, Martin Sorrell, would split off in '86 to create WPP Group, acquire J. Walter Thompson Co. in '87 and build a rival marketing network. In 1995, Saatchi directors rebelled against the brothers' lavish spending and ousted them from the troubled multibillion-dollar publicly held company. The brothers Saatchi thereupon created M&C Saatchi - a small London-based agency - while Saatchi & Saatchi survived, and WPP Group grew to be one of the top three holding companies.

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