Monday, 30 November 2015

Schade & Schade

The last time I was in London, I made a nostalgic visit to Charlotte St to see the old Saatchi building, which I blogged about here. And, at the end of last week, I heard about the next of my old workplaces to go - Saatchi Frankfurt. They'd long moved out of the building I'd worked in, but that still didn't stop the nostalgia-tinged sadness, especially as I imagine the remaining staff will be offered 'come to Berlin/Düsseldorf or get out'.

I spent a couple of years using the Frankfurt office for my base, jetting around the 'new' markets of Eastern Europe for P&G, before settling in as Head of Planning in 1998. Account Planning was the latest thing in Germany in those days, and I was amused, and a little sad, to dig out some bits and pieces from early management away-days. Life really was so simple then.

Positioning the agency. No ghastly 200 slide Powerpoint, just a couple of hand-scribbled overhead transparencies. A brand personality with 5 elements: creative, innovative, no rules, little bureaucracy, 'nothing is impossible' attitude. We weren't the biggest or even necessarily the best, but what we could do - and had proved this - was 'Being First' - from First over the Berlin Wall to First ad on the moon. We were going to lead a communications revolution: everything would be new - new ways to focus on what is true, new media opportunities, new targets, new creativity.

We didn't muck about. Someone came up with the brilliant sperm visual - a bit provocative, a bit cheeky, very powerful and very Saatchi (after all, we'd conceived the Pregnant Man) and the plastic cards were produced:

 Know more than the client, get the idea before anyone else, solve problems before they turn into the same, discover talents before they develop, have ideas before they are needed, look for new opportunities where no-one has looked before, think what no-one else has thought, be first to clear the path for others ... and so on.

And these days we talk about agility. Agility, for me, means dog shows.

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