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Below-the-line suits the top line at M&C Saatchi

Smaller is beautiful seems a strange mantra for M&C Saatchi but that seems to be the message in its half year 2017 results.

The bad news is a ten per cent fall in pre-tax profits due to sharply higher costs, up 24 per cent. These presumably include the result of restructuring M&C in London after a number of account losses and personnel changes.

But revenue was up ten per cent on a like-for-like basis at £121m with billings reaching £261m.

CEO David Kershaw (left) says the company is no longer dependent on advertising or media buying (now about 30 per cent of its business) or FMCG advertisers, the ones cutting back hardest. Rather the group’s mix of above and below-the-line activities and busy programme of opening offices across the world in which managers have a stake, is paying off.

“We’re growing because we’ve been starting a huge number of companies,” Kershaw says. M&C has moved into Mexico and Indonesia, launching ten new agencies in the first half of 2017.

M&C now is hardly the agency Charles and Maurice Saatchi envisaged when they were defenestrated from Saatchi & Saatchi but Kershaw and international boss Moray Moray MacLennan have done a good job of building a global marketing services group. They also showed prescience in selling Walker Media to Publicis Groupe (it’s now known as Blue449 – or is it the other way round?) at the top of the market.

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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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