CLOSE-UP PERSPECTIVE: Is Maurice going to acquire Saatchis? Nope, thought not

You have to hand it to Maurice Saatchi. He knows how to stay on the ad industry’s centre stage - at least from the point of view of the general public and the average Fleet Street journalist.

You have to hand it to Maurice Saatchi. He knows how to stay on the

ad industry’s centre stage - at least from the point of view of the

general public and the average Fleet Street journalist.



Just one week after the audacious and imaginative series of national

newspaper reports about M&C Saatchi’s ’pounds 80 million’ BT win (Diary,

last week), The Financial Mail on Sunday has tipped Maurice as a likely

bidder for his old Saatchi & Saatchi network.



Let’s leave aside the question of where Maurice would raise the funds

for such an acquisition or what the strategic logic would be for either

party. I thought he looked lovely in his photo. There he was, adorning

an article about his worldwide expansion plans, leaning in statesmanlike

fashion on a model globe. Magical stuff.



Of course, everyone in the industry is spitting at the level of exposure

still afforded to Lord Saatchi by the media. But even they must admit

that his front page picture may just have been enough to tempt the

average Mail on Sunday reader to pay some attention to the boring old

financial bit for once.



Why? Because he’s a star. And only a fool would dismiss the value of

this self-perpetuating phenomenon to his advertising agency.



After all, chief executives and their marketing directors are members of

the public too, and no less susceptible to the aura of celebrity. In the

real world - as opposed to the one in which Tim Delaney and Robin Wight

are ’famous’ - Maurice and his brother Charles are the only ad people

anyone has heard of. By dint of this, their appeal - and that of their

agency - is unique.



As for the story itself ... well, there were no factual errors in it but

there weren’t any facts either. The only direct quote from Maurice was

the highly perceptive observation: ’I don’t know if we are going to be

able to build a global network on our own.’ The closest thing to hard

news was the line that ’top advertising guru’ Maurice Saatchi was

’considering’ plans to merge the two agencies bearing his name. The rest

was background and reaction - worth reading for the response of David

Herro, the Saatchis investor who pulled the plug on Maurice’s tenure at

Saatchi & Saatchi plc, and the words of a Saatchis spokesperson.



Herro invited Maurice to call him if he wanted to make an offer, while

the spokesperson took advantage of the situation to talk up the asking

price for a network that is generally agreed to be ’in play’ at the

moment.



Perhaps their relaxed reactions indicate that they take the threat of a

bid from Maurice about as seriously as the City does. And how seriously

is that? Come Monday morning, shares in Saatchi & Saatchi were unmoved.

Enough said.



Have your say in CampaignLive’s forum on channel 4 at

www.campaignlive.com.



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