Does having a Saatchi mean you win the election?

Especially when they seem to be playing for both sides. As Stephen Armstrong points out in this Guardian piece, the Tories have signed up M&C Saatchi to put the boot into Gordon Brown whereas the Labour Party’s agency Saatchi & Saatchi doesn’t have anybody resembling a Saatchi.
And neither agency has one Charles Saatchi, the creative wizard behind the Tories’ most famous campaigns – ‘Labour isn’t working’ – even though, at the time (1979), he was hardly a Tory.
Charles has now severed his connections with M&C, the agency he set up with brother Maurice when they were turfed out of Saatchi & Saatchi by a now-forgotten Chicago fund manager called David Herro.
Maurice (now Lord Saatchi for his efforts) was always the Tory believer even though the key relationship was between his md Tim Bell (now Lord Bell, but you knew that already) who was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite adviser.
Well now that’s out of the way, do ads make any difference?
I suspect they don’t make very much with the voters but the politicos take them absurdly seriously and the media seize on them. So they influence or pollute, depending on your point of view, the election climate.
For the Tories M&C will just hammer away at Gordon Brown, saying you don’t want another five years of this character. And we don’t.
For Labour Saatchi & Saatchi will be marginalised as it’s just not fleet-footed enough to cope with Tory guerilla tactics.
Peter Mandelson will choose someone else. He’d probably like Clenmow Hornby Inge but that’s a bit too close to home as he made a couple of million as a non-exec when half the agency was sold to WPP.
Maybe Trevor Beattie will be coaxed back into the frame but I suspect that Trev’s a bit disillusioned with Labour, Iraq and all that.
So the Tories might not be winning in the polls (at least to the extent that they’d like) but they’re winning in ad battle, so far.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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