School Reports 2013: M&C Saatchi

HP Sauce
HP Sauce

Score: 7  Last year: 6

When it came to winning new business and launching new work, 2012 was about quality over quantity for M&C Saatchi.

All eyes were on the agency’s creative output under the new executive creative director, Elspeth Lynn, who joined the agency from Profero at the beginning of the year after Graham Fink’s departure in 2011.

While there were few examples of award-winning creative, Lynn’s department didn’t disappoint in developing solid work for clients including Breast Cancer Care, NatWest and HP Sauce, for which it created the brand’s first TV ad campaign in five years.

Other notable work came from Transport for London around the London 2012 Olympic Games, which included print activity across the London Underground. A print campaign for the Government intelligence service, MI6, wowed fans of long-copy ads.

It was during the second half of 2012 that M&C Saatchi’s new-business efforts really paid off. While it won three fewer pieces of business than in 2011, the nine accounts it scooped were more high-profile.

The biggest was the £25 million Ballantine’s global advertising business, previously handled by Publicis. Other significant wins came in the form of Virgin Holidays and Peroni. It also strengthened its relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland by winning the consolidated digital business from Glue Isobar.

Following Lynn’s arrival, M&C Saatchi’s management team remained stable throughout the year and its collaboration with the sister shop Lida on pitches was further evidence that its integrated model is being used in practice.

Should M&C Saatchi continue in this vein – while ramping up its creative standards a notch – then 2013 will, no doubt, be as fruitful as 2012.

M&C Saatchi
Type of agency Fully integrated
Company ownership AIM listed
Key personnel Lisa Thomas chief executive, UK group
Carrie Hindmarsh chief executive
Elspeth Lynn executive creative director
Richard Storey chief strategy officer
Richard Alford managing director
Nielsen billings 2012 £207m
Nielsen billings 2011 £231m
Declared income £49.2m (2011)
Total accounts at year end 27
Accounts won 9 (biggest: Ballantine’s)
Accounts lost 1 (iShares)
Number of staff 260 (+5%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

How M&C Saatchi rates itself: 7

"In this triumphant Olympic year, we enjoyed some pretty great results ourselves. We got 35% of Londoners to change their travel plans to make way for Games traffic. We created the first ever recruitment campaign for MI6. Our new ECD Elspeth Lynn joined us from Profero. We deepened our most longstanding partnerships, being appointed to NatWest’s digital business and DSG’s social media. Meanwhile new business wins included Virgin Holidays, Peroni and the global Ballantine’s account."