Saatchi Tide creative hire shows way agencies are changing

Saatchi & Saatchi has hired Weber Shandwick CCO Ciro Sarmiento (Weber Shandwick’s a big PR company but everyone seems to have a CCO these days) to lead creative on its Tide account.

Tide is a flagship P&G brand and one which has picked up a number of Saatchi-inspired gongs in recent years – so undeniably important. Increasingly though we’re seeing senior creatives hired to work on just one account although doubtless they pitch in when other issues arise.

Which is a revealing sign of the way agencies have changed. Not so long ago senior creatives would bridle at the notion of working on just one piece of business (although they’d compete hard to get the plum accounts), maintaining that working across the piece gave them the stimulus and experience to produce the best work. Work that in-house creatives would be unable to replicate due to their narrow focus.

Creative agencies, alas, are clearly no longer regarded as collections of wizards who can sprinkle stardust on everything from cars to tech to toothpaste – or, in this case, soap powder.

A hybrid model is in the process of being formed with Saatchi owner Publicis in the van. CEO Arthur Sadoun has been trumpeting the ‘Power of One’ for years now although not many people outside Publicis have been able to work out exactly what it is.

In these cases it’s always wise to follow the money and the hybrid model seems to have the twin benefits of saying to clients we have a dedicated top team on your business and then the ability to concentrate resources on these key accounts while hoping to persuade the rest they’re still getting top service.

And, of course, for the agency it’s cheaper.

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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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