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Diary: Why Saatchi deserves a standing ovation in pitches

If you ran an agency and your payroll included one of the most famous names in advertising, it would just be bad business sense not to have that person involved in big pitches.

With this in mind, you can't really blame M&C Saatchi for regularly playing its trump card and calling on its founder, the one and only Maurice Saatchi, to add some glamour and gravitas to the agency's pitch meetings.

However, there is just one problem. Saatchi is not exactly what you'd call "hands on" anymore, and, as a result, doesn't always recognise the young whippersnappers he is pitching alongside.

So, we hear, the clever lot over at Golden Square decided that some form of time-coded aide-memoire would be the best way to ensure their commander-in-chief didn't enter a pitch, all glasses and charm, and start shaking hands with his own staff.

Picture the tense scene: a team from the agency are in a hot, stuffy room with a slide projector and a white-board pitching their socks off, while one member is nervously keeping a cursory eye on the clock. At a predetermined time - say, exactly 12.02pm - the great man bursts into the room, makes his way over to dazzle the clients and offers them a few choice words of wisdom.

At this point, the remaining M&C executives who are not already on their feet must be upstanding. By doing so, Saatchi is free to shake the hands of the clients - those still sitting down - without making himself look like a bit of an idiot.

Simple, really.

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