PERSPECTIVE: Saatchi experience will stand Crozier in good stead at the FA

I was going to write about the imminent merger of the Lowe Group and Ammirati Puris Lintas, but as I’ve been consistently ridiculed by top brass for even suggesting such a measure was on the cards, I don’t believe that there is an Interpublic board meeting next Tuesday to rubber-stamp the deal. And (because I’d hate to accuse anyone in advertising of ever lying to me), if it’s not true I’d be silly to write about it.

I was going to write about the imminent merger of the Lowe Group

and Ammirati Puris Lintas, but as I’ve been consistently ridiculed by

top brass for even suggesting such a measure was on the cards, I don’t

believe that there is an Interpublic board meeting next Tuesday to

rubber-stamp the deal. And (because I’d hate to accuse anyone in

advertising of ever lying to me), if it’s not true I’d be silly to write

about it.



Almost as silly as to write about IPG and MacManus. Fortunately, my

fellow columnist, Caroline Marshall, is more cynical (see p14) than

me.



Instead I’d like to discuss the man with more new friends even than the

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe foursome. They may have a stash, but what’s

cash when the new Football Association chief executive, Adam Crozier,

can get you into Wembley for England v Scotland, or (if you’re mad) even

Hampden Park? What a great job. Forget Graham Kelly. Although both

happen to be football nuts, Crozier is the chief executive for the

media-savvy age; businessman not administrator. The FA knows it must

wise up to the big business era - you only have to look at the farcical

legal wrangle over a share of TV money involving the former Sky

executives, Sam Chisholm and David Chance. It’s a bold appointment, and

a big job.



Crozier will be used to that. Five years ago when he and Tamara Ingram

stepped into the massive management breach that was left by the Maurice

Saatchi breakaway, Charlotte Street was teetering on the brink. The

client and staff exodus was bad enough, but then there was the

demoralising suggestion of being the ’old’ Saatchi, and the

extraordinary rise of M&C to contend with.



Jennifer Laing came and went - and in between they formed scarcely the

most harmonious trio in town. Unquestionably, the business has

stabilised.



Although the agency has of late done badly out of recent international

realignments and the loss of the National Lottery, the Sony win and the

ever-strengthening relationship with Procter & Gamble are real

positives.



Then there was the creative issue, slightly fudged at first by having

several creative directors until Adam Kean emerged from the pack. As for

the work, when Saatchis was good, it was very, very good (Army, Nurses,

NSPCC) and when it was bad, it was horrid (Visa ’kerching’, Norwich

Union, some Toyota, some Tetley’s). Meanwhile, Dave Droga’s arrival has

been a breath of fresh air.



The job’s not done, but it would never be finished by Crozier. Saatchis

now needs a chairman who is a ’player’ in wider circles. Ironically,

perhaps, Crozier has always been a slightly unlikely frontman, a bit

press-shy and evasive. He’ll have to change quickly at Lancaster Gate,

but he, and his achievements at Charlotte Street, are not to be

underestimated.



stefano.hatfield@haynet.com



Have your say at www.campaignlive.com on channel 4.



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