Saatchis takes a beating in Australia at the hands of returning exiles

That’s Saatchi & Saatchi not M&C Saatchi, which is one of the agencies handing out the aforementioned beating.

Saatchis (the Publicis-owned one) has been turfed from the Lion Nathan beer roster, losing Tooheys New to hot local agency BMF and Hahn To Publicis Mojo, the new home of former JWT global creative director and Aussie Craig Davis.

Saatchis has also lost the chunky David Jones retail account to M&C Saatchi, recently ensconced down the road in Sydney.

And to make matters more worrying for Saatchis CEO John Foley Toyota, at $50m the agency’s biggest account, has just appointed the all-conquering Droga5 (headed by another Aussie Dave Droga although mainly based in New York) to pep things up a bit.

Hitherto Australia has been one of Saatchis’ best markets but things are evidently hotting up for the agency despite its more than decent record in winning both business and awards.

The arrival of Davis, who’s a genuinely heavy hitter, at Publicis Mojo can’t be welcome for them nor can exile Droga’s interest in his old stamping ground.

Saatchis’ positioning is creative, creative and more creative and this has served them extremely well around the world over the past ten years or so with the possible exception of the UK. But such a position is always vulnerable to a flank attack from an agency or individuals who seem even more cutting edge.

On top of this, M&C Saatchi stepping off the boat and promptly pinching one of the agency’s biggest accounts combines insult and injury all in one.

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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.