Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

The M&C Saatchi franchise

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My analysis of M&C Saatchi’s global ambitions appeared in Campaign last week. Now that they have a new management team in place in the shape of Moray MacLennan and Tom Dery, it will be interesting to see whether they can really turn themselves into a true global force.

One of the things that has surprised me most about the UK advertising scene is the different perceptions of agencies when compared to Asia. M&C Saatchi is a classic example of this. In London it is a swaggering outfit that eats at the top table. In Singapore, meanwhile, people used to call it McSaatchi, which certainly chimes with the ex-agency executive who likened the agency to a ‘franchise operation’. In Thailand, to make matters worse, I came across a client that thought the agency was simply Saatchi & Saatchi’s below-the-line arm.

I have no doubt that M&C Saatchi would like to be as internationally successful as McDonald’s. All jokes aside, they will need to start acting less like a franchise and actually export the culture that has worked so well for them in the UK and Australia. They have some good people, though, despite the presence of the self-styled Brian Clough of advertising in Hong Kong. (I jest, Rob is lovely, really.)

If anything, M&C Saatchi finds itself in a rather unique position. It is smaller than the big networks, and bigger than its micro-network peers like BBH and Wieden. MacLennan’s job, presumably, is to figure out how to use that position to its advantage.


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Written by Arun Sudhaman

May 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

Posted in advertising, Campaign

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