Last year: 7
How the agency rates itself: 8
If you asked people outside advertising to name the biggest thing that happened to Saatchi & Saatchi in 2016, they would no doubt say the public flogging of former global chairman Kevin Roberts. His misguided comments on gender led global news bulletins for a whole weekend in July.
If the question were posed to people in the industry, the answer would rather depend on their point of view. The agency’s year was dominated by two major new-business moves. In April, the capture of the two-for-one integrated account for Asda alongside sister media agency Blue 449 took everyone by surprise and was a major coup.
In comparison, the loss of the Toyota business in November had the force of a T-bone collision. The crash damage was greatest at the network level – where there were accusations of people asleep at the wheel – but it was a reminder to the London office to make sure its engine is finely tuned.
Creative highlights included helping push forward dementia research with Alzheimer’s Research UK and Deutsche Telekom, revolutionising street lighting for Direct Line and turning Piccadilly Circus yellow for Marie Curie.
This January, Saatchis’ global chief Robert Senior resigned and UK boss Magnus Djaba became global president. The network’s compass has pointed increasingly at London: Kate Stanners is now global chief creative officer and chairwoman. Following Djaba’s promotion, strategy supremo Richard Huntington became UK chairman and the face of the agency, working with chief operating officer Danny Josephs and managing director Sam Hawkey.
Saatchis’ move from its legendary home into new digs in Chancery Lane should allow its revamped leadership to put their stamp on the year ahead.
How the agency describes its year in a tweet
50 awards, including Cannes and IPA Effectiveness Golds. Top of the new biz league. Great results for clients. And a shiny new home for us.