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The Showcase 2022

From embracing modern creative Britain to nurturing the next gen: Saatchi & Saatchi's 2022

Saatchis is on a mission and a year of energetic work, restructuring and new business wins suggests it's getting there

By Creative Salon

2022 was the year that Saatchi & Saatchi tried to soften its traditionally brutal edges and shape its culture more emphatically around modern British creativity. A slew of new business wins, an improving creative output and some refreshing people moves suggest the changes are already paying dividends.

Here the Saatchis chief executive Chris Kay gives us his take on the year and looks ahead to 2023, and below Creative Salon offers its perspective on this most iconic of agencies.

Chris Kay, Saatchi & Saatchi’s CEO, on his agency’s year

What three words would you use to describe 2022?

UK needs (more) creativity.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year?

We started the year with a simple ambition to be the most influential creative company in modern Britain and we had a strong start on that journey.

We challenged the Supreme Court on abortion with our Pregnant Man rebirthed ad.

We kick-started a cultural conversation to help EE beat misogyny in the Women’s euros.

We built the design for and launched ‘Gazza’ one of the BBC’s most watched documentaries.

We created the world’s first value driven NFT that delivered real change across Europe with Deutsche Telekom.

We started a meaningful conversation with BrewDog at the World Cup.

We created a new type of partnership that used music to save lives from the BHF & Spotify.

We launched the industry’s first open-sourced national creative curriculum called Upriser.

We took British Creativity to Cannes with Channel 4 and our New Creators Showcase that helps launch careers in our industry.

We sold Saatchi art and used the funds to create an open-invite monthly showcase for new musicians for everyone in our industry.

We made nine new friends; including Subway, Churchill, BrewDog, NBA, Siemens, BT Sport, Binance, Marriot and UBS.

We had a lot of fun trying to kick-start our journey.

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

Launching the UK’s first open sourced creative curriculum to kick-start the next generation of talent in our industry

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

Rebooting a 51-year-old company to imbue the energy and output of a start-up.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Watching our team smash it as they continue on our ambition and journey.

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year?

Confidence in our product and the power of creativity is key. Our country is going to need the best and most brave ideas to help chart a course through the challenges we will face. And as an industry we need to be coming together to be confident, take our rightful place in the boardroom, do things that consumers love and that change culture and client businesses.

Creative Salon on Saatchi & Saatchi's 2022

Perhaps the most obvious thing to say about Saatchis this year is that the work has a new energy to it. From reviving its classic Pregnant Man concept to highlighting women's rights in the wake of the Roe v Wade backtrack; to some lovely work for the British Heart Foundation, including the charity's first Christmas campaign; to raiding Marvel for Direct Line; to a punchy idea for BrewDog against the World Cup; to a strong army of work for BT and EE, including recruiting Gillian Anderson for BT and creating an in-game kit with EA Games for BT's Hope United push - it was a very busy year.

Teaming up with Channel 4 on the Saatchis New Creators Showcase, and taking the concept live into a series of evening showcases of new musical talent sums up a new creative spirit at the agency that brings its Creative Britain positioning to life.

The passing of the creative baton from Guillermo Vega, who left the agency to join Ogilvy in the summer, to Franki Goodwin also brought a new momentum to creative proceedings.

Other people moves included the appointment of Alicia Iveson as managing partner and Jess Ringshall as chief production officer. Ashley Milhollin, Michael Thomason and Ali Dickinson were hired as creative directors to work alongside Franki.

The whole agency was reshaped into an innovative squad structure to create a more nimble framework around client needs. Meanwhile, the agency's chief Chris Kay stepped up to oversee Publicis Groupe's creative agencies in addition to his Saatchi role.

A strong new business pipeline suggests all this is starting to pay off. The agency landed Churchill Insurance, the global Siemens account, the NBA creative brief and the crypto currency exchange Binance.

Creative Salon Says: There's been a lot of change at Saatchis this year but all harnessed to a very clear vision from Chris Kay about putting the agency at the heart of modern British creativity. It's a powerful cultural positioning that nods to the company's iconic roots but also seeks to make Saatchis a warmer, more welcoming place to work. The brilliant work done by the agency, under the steer of MD Sarah Jenkins, to nurture a new generation of diverse talent strengthens this ambition.


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