First it was Ammirati Puris Lintas. Now it’s Saatchi & Saatchi.
The little village of advertising creatives is about to be shaken up by
the arrival of the second overseas creative director this month.
Dave Droga comes from Saatchi Singapore with a huge reputation, having
turned that agency into one of the hottest in Asia.
Before that he’d already set up his own agency, established overseas
offices and sold them.
From the outside it has long been evident that Charlotte Street needed a
single creative leader. Creative departments are like newspapers and
magazines. When judgments must be made that are, by definition,
subjective, committees cannot make them.
Perhaps just as importantly, committees cannot be perceived to be making
them. The creative director’s role is even more important today as old
job demarcations break down.
The modern creative director is also the agency’s most important account
man, PR man and all-round cheerleader.
Actually, he (or she) probably always was. We can be lulled into
thinking that Trevor Beattie, Campbell & Roalfe and Mark Wnek are the
new breed because they are what we know in the present. But are their
relationships with key clients different from those held respectively
by, say, David Abbott or John Webster?
What is also more vital now than ever is the relationship between the
agency chief and his (or her) creative director.
The biggest positive point about Steve Rabowsky’s arrival at APL is how
much the chief executive, Chris Thomas, appears to want him. Tim Mellors
is basking in the obvious faith that Grey’s Steve Blamer has in him.
McCann-Erickson’s Ben Langdon appears to have the right partner at last
in Mike Court. And, as for Saatchis’ Tamara Ingram and Adam Crozier, if
they were old enough to adopt Droga as their son, they’d be down to the
Droga will need that support. He is, let’s remember, 29, and his
appointment will upset Saatchis’ existing creative directors - most
notably Adam Kean. At first hearing, Saatchis’ bigger clients may also
find it curious.
This is understandable. Although I still believe the agency needed a
talismanic appointment in the wake of the M&C Saatchi exodus, Kean’s
department working with Ingram and Crozier has done a good job in
holding Charlotte Street together.
Some of the print work has been outstanding - most notably for the Army,
Nurses Recruitment, and the Commission for Racial Equality.
However, some of the telly work hasn’t: BHS and Visa should never have
seen the light of day, Delta has been a shameful and shameless British
Airways rip-off and Tetley’s incarnations have disappointed.
The current Norwich Union campaign sums up the need to get back to
greater simplicity. What’s it all about? What does the red braces
To me it’s horrible 80s yuppies. It’s over-art directed and
Droga’s strength apparently is his belief in simplicity: the old Charles
Saatchi values. We wish him well. His task is anything but simple.
Together with his management partners, he must forge a new culture for
Saatchis and find a level of consistent excellence that is now lacking.