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Unleash the ugly
Saatchi's outspoken CEO Kevin Roberts tells Austyn Allison from Communicate that the time for analysis is over. Advertising is going to get ugly.
July 22, 2009 8:01 by Austyn Allison
Are you going to be opening Saatchi S [the division of the agency that deals with sustainability] here?
I think first we’re going to open Saatchi and Saatchi X [the agency’s shopper marketing arm] in a big way, because I think there’s an enormous potential for us to get involved at point of sale. If you look at the supermarkets around here, it’s still below-the-line. It’s still sales promotions, that classic thing. With Saatchi X, we work for Wal-Mart, we work for Carrefour, we work for P&G in Wal-Mart, and we work for Frito Lay in the US.
The whole focus now of Saatchi X is not to turn shoppers into buyers, which is what it used to be, but to improve the life of shoppers in the store. So, how do you do that? That is a real challenge, given the retail environment. Saatchi X will be the first priority [and should be arriving imminently this year]. Then I think sustainability will probably be something we look at in 2010 and 2011.
Have you switched those expansion plans since last year?
Yeah, because the spending from clients has moved from the long term to the short term and moved from strategy to execution, and budgets have switched really to below-the-line and in-store. So we think there’s an awesome opportunity now to build in-store capability. Not the old-school below-the-line promotion, but through Saatchi & Saatchi X.
Do you think above-the-line is on the way out?
There will be no line. There will be big ideas companies. It will be those people that come up with revelations. We live in the age of the idea. There will be creative shops. Hence my wake-up call to the Middle East, that if you don’t get creative here, you won’t exist. Because ideas, not processes, not functionality, not systems, are driving consumer choice in this new age.
First seen in Communicate magazine.