M&C Saatchi: A 21-Year-Old With A Bright Future

M&C Saatchi: A 21-Year-Old With A Bright Future

M&C Saatchi turns 21 this year and has plenty to celebrate as one of the largest, most lauded and successful players in Australian adland.

Zoe Finlayson
Posted by Zoe Finlayson

The Group will mark the occasion with staff, clients, media and some old friends at a glittering 21st birthday party in Sydney this Thursday (the 21st) where it will be toasting the future as much as its past and present.

A future that will continue its transformation as a business that augments advertising with creativity in all shapes and forms to help solve business problems.

Some key milestone of this evolution include the recent launch of:

  • Innovation hub Tricky Jigsaw to significantly bolster capacity to develop new products and services, working out of the ‘maker’ lab installed at M&C Saatchi Group’s Sydney HQ.
  • Customer relationship business LIDA distilling insights from big data for clients.
  • A retail division to help brands navigate the intersection of tech, online, mobile and data with physical retail environments that may also one day help M&C Saatchi sell its own products.

All are achieving significant outcomes for clients and setting the Group well on its path to attaining CEO Jaimes Leggett’s vision of being the most influential creative company in Australia by 2020.

M&C Saatchi has been embracing change and transformation since that May day in 1995 when Tom Dery first flung open its doors – from a Sydney Hotel room with little more than a personal credit card and ambition to service foundation clients Qantas and British Airways.

It was mere weeks after the Saatchi brothers famously walked out of the London agency they had built to become the world’s most successful and renowned to form another to carry their name.

Dery soon coaxed Tom McFarlane up from Melbourne as CD to form a partnership that still endures.

Within 18 months M&C Saatchi Australia had 14 clients, 39 staff, an AdNews Agency of the Year title and an office in Pitt St.

Ever since it has sustained that remarkable run of year-on-year growth and acclaim to be a leading force in Australian advertising.

Today it has more than 450 staff across two offices (Sydney and Melbourne) and 12 businesses.

It has just gone back-to-back as the B&T Grand Prix Agency of the Year – the first agency to ever do so – and enjoyed its most successful year at Cannes with Titanium amid its 10-Lion haul.

Its client roster comprises some of the nation’s largest and most successful brands who each day touch millions of Australians. M&C Saatchi engages them with memorable, enduring work built off big brand platforms such as:  CommBank ‘Can’, Optus ‘Yes’, ‘NRMADE BETTER’ and the likes of ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ that has been picked up and run with elsewhere.

Leggett said: “It’s great to take a moment on this special milestone to reflect oneverything the Group has achieved.

“Back-to-back Grand Prix Agency of the year titles is something we’re fiercely proud of, neither of which could have been achieved was it not for the legacy forged by Tom and Tom.

“Standing on the shoulders of giants gives you a great view and we couldn’t be more excited by what we see ahead.

“Creativity will always be our stock in trade.  In an age where category disruption is rife, creativity as a means of driving business transformation has never been more important.

“We are embracing those opportunities and the challenge to not only keep a step ahead of the market. But to help define it’s future.”

Dery, into his seventh year as M&C Saatchi Worldwide Chairman, said: “We were very fortunate in Australia to have such fantastic support from the leadership group in London who backed us on everything we wanted to do from the outset. Plus, the association with Maurice Saatchi was inspirational.

“Other highlights for me are all the truly brilliant people – the colleagues and clients – I’ve worked with and continue to work with, none more so than Tom McFarlane. Many have become lifelong friends. That and the chance to help businesses overcome challenges to reach and exceed their goals.

“The first 21 years were great but such is the leadership, the talent and the ambition around the place now, I’m absolutely confident the Group will reach new heights as we move forward.”

McFarlane, these days M&C Saatchi’s regional creative director – Asia Pacific said:  “The opportunity to grow something is what got me on a plane from Melbourne all those years ago and to this day it is what I enjoy most.

“Finding a ‘big idea’ that will genuinely help a client’s business grow, nurturing young talent and watching an industry I love continue to flourish.

“I am immeasurably proud that so many successful people in agencies here and around the world began, or grew their careers at M&C Saatchi Australia. It’s been a hell of a ride, wild at times, but always fun.

“Along the way I have been privileged to work with so many talented people, who are also good people. Not the least Tom Dery who has been my partner and friend for over 25 years.”

To mark the occasion M&C Saatchi has published a beautiful, 148-page coffee table hardback book that celebrates each of the 21 years through milestones and a showcase of seminal work. A copy of the book has been given to each staff member, clients and media.
Some highlights from M&C Saatchi’s first 21 years:

  • The Australian’s ‘Agency of the Decade’ 2000 to 2010.
  • 32 Agency of the Year titles.
  • Hundreds of creative and effectiveness awards.
  • Ranked No.2 on BRW’s Most Innovative Companies List  (2014).
  • A client roster, both past and present, that amounts to deep experience (in some instances up to two decades) across virtually every sector, including: financial services, telco, insurance, airlines, tech, big retail, auto, FMCG, not-for-profit, tourism, media, software, fashion and apparel.
  • An unfair share of market-leading – and in some instances world’s best – talent highlighted by the following recent appointments:
    Chief Creative Officer Andy Dilallo, Executive Creative Director Michael Canning, Chief Strategy Officer Justin Graham, Managing Partner and Head of Commbank Mim Haysom, Head of Innovation Ben Cooper, Managing Director of Bang PR Annalise Brown.