Robert Senior: 'What's our fundamental at crunch time?'

Robert Senior.
Robert Senior.

The Saatchi & Saatchi chief compared politicians' and ad agencies' tendency to overpromise

LONDON — Ad agencies spend too much time creating the "perfect painting," promising what they think their clients want but then under delivering, according to Saatchi & Saatchi's Robert Senior.

In a session about the future of adland at Advertising Week Europe, hosted by Claire Beale, the global editor-in-chief at Campaign, Senior, the worldwide chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, talked about the "perfect painting" by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid.

It was created after asking people what they think the perfect painting should look like, with images of leadership and family as well as blue skies and clouds. However, it is the "most shit painting ever," Senior said.

Senior said politicians and ad agencies are guilty of a similar thing, promising everything but then they are unable to deliver it.

He said: "Creative agencies create the perfect painting at their worst [by saying], ‘Yes, she will be working 100% on your business.’ "

Senior added that an agency is at its best when it is clear on its proposition. "What’s our fundamental at crunch time?" he said.

"We give them what they can’t give themselves and that is ideas through various channels of creativity. That is what we do when the pressure is on, that is when we are at our best."

Senior also said that agencies should not focus on the "strenuous stuff and forget the core thing we offer clients."

Also on the panel were Tracy de Groose, the chief executive at Dentsu Aegis Network; Nils Leonard, the chairman at Grey London; Andy Nairn, a founding partner of Lucky Generals; and Ringan Ledwidge, a director at Rattling Stick.

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