Birthday boys (and great survivors) M&C Saatchi tackle gambling for GambleAware

M&C Saatchi is still with us and celebrating its 25th birthday even though neither event looked very likely when it was hit by an accounting black hole last year.

But the three remaining amigos, David Kershaw, Bill Muirhead and Jeremy Sinclair (with consigliere Moray MacLennan) are nothing if not survivors. Saatchi & Saatchi, the brothers’ original creation and now owned by Publicis, is 50.

M&C never quite conquered the commanding heights of the UK agency scene despite a promising start but it became a substantial public company. But you’re only really as good as your last ad (or data-driven business transformation) and there’ve been some signs of creative life recently.

Fresh off the blocks is this campaign for GambleAware, a charity trying to help people with betting problems (it’s ultimately funded by the betting industry) and the Safer Gambling Board, part of a ‘Bet Regret’ initiative. Gambling issues have been enormously multiplied by betting on football via gambling apps and it’s the start of a new football season.

M&C, whose mantra is “brutal simplicity of thought,” seems to be the horse for the course here with a surprisingly punchy effort, featuring a wrestler forcing inept gamblers to “tap out” from their mobiles. You may have noticed the number of betting company ads with young men permanently attached to such devices.

Directed by Vince Squibb (who knows a thing or two about decent ads from his days a copywriter) for Academy, it does what it says on the tin.

A drop in a rather troubling ocean perhaps but business is business.

MAA creative scale: 7.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.