Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney: Mumbrella Creative Agency Review – an awful year for a creative force, but it’ll bounce back

MCAR coverThe newly published Mumbrella Creative Agency Review examines Australia’s top 30 ad agencies. Today Robin Hicks examines how Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney has fared over the last 12 months.

It is fair to say that Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney has not had the happiest of years. Lion Nathan and David Jones were two massive client losses. And a sizeable dent was put its highly-prized Toyota account by Droga5, an agency heavily staffed by ex-Saatchi’s people, notably former Saatchi’s creative boss David Nobay. ECD Steve Back was another key departure. More bad news emerged months later as Saatchi’s failed in its attempt to acquire The Monkeys, another agency run by former employees. As news of the rebuff broke, Saatchi’s went to ground, which has been fairly typical of the agency’s approach to managing its profile.

Yes, there has been the occasional piece of high-quality creative work, such as ‘glass organs’ for Toyota, and it is no surprise to see Saatchi’s score well in our survey for creativity. For an agency that has endured such a tough year, Saatchi’s should gain credit that our panel put it in their top ten in this category.

But in most areas, the agency appears to have slipped into reverse. Our panel rates it as the worst of our top 30 for integration and commercial success, and not much better when it came to client stability and momentum.

One panellist notes: “Saatchi & Saatchi is sadly lacking in inventiveness – and it’s showing in their commercial results, their failure to buy The Monkeys and their apparent lack of impact beyond what is still, maybe surprisingly, an excellent creative product – on TV at least.”

Looking to the year ahead, CEO John Foley needs to generate some interest around the Saatchi & Saatchi brand again.

Update: John Foley is to be replaced by Saatchi & Saatchi London’s CEO Michael Rebelo.

Since The Monkeys episode, things have been quieter. This is arguably more of a worry. One panellist points out: “Saatchi’s afraid of PR? This is unheard of. Here is an agency that has always made the news – good or bad. No news is not good news. It’s a sign that they’re burying their heads in the sand and waiting for their problems to go away.”

To read more about Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, including full details on how it was scored by both our expert panel and Mumbrella’s own readers, to view examples of the agency’s work and read its own assessment of its performance, buy a copy of the Mumbrella Creative Agency Review priced at $75. The book features an assessment of the country’s top 30 ad agencies. To buy the book, click here.


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