As a former Club 18-30 rep Andy Tidy, now general manager for the
holiday operator, is not easily shocked. But when Saatchi & Saatchi
called him into the agency to present its latest idea for the brand,
even he was taken aback.
It was several months ago now that James Griffiths, the management
supervisor on the Club 18-30 account, sat Tidy down in front of what is
known in the trade as a ’mood video’ - a short film made up of clips
that set the mood for a film - as he explained that Saatchis wanted Club
18-30 to star in a feature film. As the images of teens and
twentysomethings frolicking in the sea rolled over the screen, Tidy was
sold on it.
’My first reaction was, ’why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?’’
Tidy says. ’We’ve always liked to take the brand to an extreme. Our
brief to Saatchis is ’go too far - we can always bring it back
Not this time, though. Saatchis is keen to stress that the client will
have no editorial control over the film. Apart from a small development
loan to the producer, Club 18-30 is not providing any of the
It gets the publicity for free and its only condition for allowing the
film’s makers to use its name is that the film will not denigrate the
brand - although, when it comes to Club 18-30, this is more likely to
mean editing out anything too tame than concerns about staff members’ or
’Our role is to advise - we haven’t got any control over the script and
we wouldn’t want to have,’ Tidy says. ’The integrity of the film has to
be maintained. It is a bit scary but I’ve met the producer and I’m
working with a set of people I know and trust.’
Club 18-30 - The Movie will be a fictional comedy set on Ibiza with a
budget of between dollars 4 million and dollars 6 million. It has not
yet been cast but is unlikely to be a star-studded production - its
makers are modelling it on irreverent youth movies such as American Pie
and Something About Mary.
Stephen Colegrave, Saatchis’ European new-business director and a film
producer in his own right, has provided much of the impetus behind the
project. But he is keen to stress this does not mean Saatchis is going
into film production in the way that St Luke’s has done.
Instead, it is part of Saatchis’ plan to be an ideas agency.
’As an agency we believe content provision is the way of the future and
we want to be involved in that,’ he says. ’Our role is to act as
consultants and enablers. We can come up with the idea, put the client
in touch with the right people and provide the reassurance that they can
pull it off.’
The agency has not formally set up a division to house these new
activities; instead they will be carried out informally through its
network of account directors with Griffiths overseeing the film project
The idea for the film began when Saatchis hired the director/producer
Bob Mahoney as a consultant - one of a number of measures designed to
extend its services beyond traditional advertising. To start with the
plan was for Club 18-30 to get involved in a product placement deal -
whereby advertisers pay to have their products featured in films.
But it soon became clear that any movie made on Ibiza would be dominated
by the Club 18-30 brand simply because the company is so prominent on
the island. According to Mahoney, the logical next step was to make a
The project is being overseen by Mahoney, whose screen credits include
the Lynda La Plante TV series The Governor and six episodes of the
popular drama series Heartbeat, including the pilot episode. He was also
involved in the making of the 1992 election campaign for the
Conservative Party through Saatchis and between 1976 and 1987 ran the
commercials production house Bob Mahoney & Associates.
Mahoney has hired the scriptwriters Paul de Villers and Staffan Tollgard
to write the screenplay for the movie, which is scheduled to start
shooting in Ibiza this summer for release in the UK early next year. The
dollars 4 to dollars 6 million budget is pretty typical for a UK film
and Mahoney is in talks with film financiers in the US to secure the
The real test was what the Americans - who had never heard of Club 18-30
- thought of the idea. ’I took the mood reel over to Los Angeles to show
some of my contacts and they loved it,’ Mahoney says. ’The funny thing
was, they all thought it was fiction - none of them believed this really
Saatchis hopes the project will be the first of many forays into
advertiser-related (although not necessarily advertiser-funded) content
Club 18-30 was, the agency says, the perfect client to begin with as it
has a history of taking risks. It already spends a large proportion of
its advertising budget on cinema ads, which it believes can reach its
target audience most effectively.
But there are other projects in the pipeline: another Saatchi client,
the European Space Agency, already has an in-house programming
department which Saatchis is hoping to link up with specialist
broadcasters such as The Discovery Channel.
The film project seems unlikely to be replicated with any of Saatchis’
other clients - it’s hard to see the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Lloyds
TSB providing such juicy storylines. But making a concerted effort to
add value by providing ideas that go well beyond traditional advertising
can only be good for both Saatchis and its clients.