Saatchi & Saatchi's consumer shop is humming along with a healthy new business roster, churning out eye-catching ads and, increasingly, digital and CRM work.
The shop's management won't say how they fared in revenue terms over the past year but managing director Ned Russell says “We took on a lot of new clients and are having an exceptionally good year in growth with current clients.”
New accounts include Merck's NuvaRing and Dulera; Nestle Nutrition, for which the shop launched the Boost protein drink; Somaxon Pharmaceuticals' Silenor sleep aid; the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan; and a huge treatment for autoimmune disorders. The agency suffered no losses.
Saatchi Wellness added 10 or so posts to service the new business, bringing headcount up to around 135. Notable hires include that of Carol Fiorino, who joined the agency from Euro RSCG Life as co-creative director, alongside Stu Fink (copy). She replaces Sergio Flores, who left the agency to launch his own firm, and reports to chief creative officer Helayne Spivak.
The agency has also created several group creative director positions to encourage cross-pollination of digital and CRM skills across account teams. The firm brought on Augusta Duffey to partner with Kim Olson in heading up digital, while Rob Resnick serves as group creative director for CRM.
“The ‘No silos' thing that everybody has been talking about ad nauseum? We're just kind of doing it and finding a place to work together,” says Spivak. Saatchi Wellness has also invested in things like its Wellness Survey with Time Inc. and a Wellness Lab for clients aimed at building the shop's profile as a thought leader in the agency world.
Recent work has included the Allegra OTC switch campaign, the “Cloud” campaign for Seroquel XR and ads for Nestle Boost and Merial's Frontline anti-flea and tick franchise.
On a bittersweet note, the shop recently produced its valedictory TV ad for Plavix, which loses patent protection next year.
“I'm really pleased with that, because it may be the last piece of advertising we do on that brand and it would have been really easy for people to say: ‘Hey, let's just knock another one of these out,'” says Russell. “But, it was fresh and based upon continuing to explore and getting real insights. It's a really creative way to get across a very personal message.”
In the ad, an apparently healthy man looks in the bathroom mirror and sees himself clad in hospital gown and oxygen mask.
“It's the little things that make something a little bit different,” says Spivak, “Where you follow the story all the way through and it matters that the wife gives that little nod and you find actors that are just so likeable, because otherwise it becomes just eyewash. It's heavy information and it's a drug that has heavy implications, so to be responsible and relevant we have to pay attention to every little detail.”
The shop's “Bike” unbranded spot, for Abbott's RA.com, employs some gorgeous photography depicting a bicycle crumbling beneath its rider (it's not all post-production—the spokes, for example, were made from spaghetti) to illustrate rheumatoid arthritis and the loss of freedom resulting from it. For another Abbott unbranded website, PsoriasisSpeaks.com, the shop monitored Tweets from people with Psoriasis as the campaign broke.
“A great number said: ‘Did you see that spot? Somebody gets it,” says Spivak.