The M&C Saatchi franchise
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.