Saatchi Plans Creative Dept. Reunion

NEW YORK-Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising is partially dismantling its “core group” structure to reinstate a single, cohesive creative department.
In her first major organizational change since taking over as chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi’s North American operations in January, Jennifer Laing plans to reunite the creative staffers at Saatchi’s New York office who are currently dispersed across five floors in five separate core groups. Those units are devoted to different types of clients and/or marketing expertise. They are: Kid Connection (General Mills), HealthCare Connection (Johnson & Johnson), Food Connection (GM), Home Connection (Procter & Gamble) and Service Connection (Delta Airlines).
“My next task is to put the creative department back together,” said Laing. “If new business is the lungs of an agency, then the creative department is the soul.” The agency is designing new space to house the 70-person creative department, which should be completed by February.
Under the plan, Saatchi will maintain its core group structure with the account service, media planning and strategic planning functions grouped together for certain clients.
Top creative directors will continue to work on their current accounts, but Laing said the change will free staffers to work on multiple clients as well as new business pitches.
“I believe in core groups, but we went too far,” she said. “Creative is our heritage and it ought to be central to the agency.” She added, “Our clients will keep their key people” but also have “access to more people.” Stanley Becker, vice chairman and chief creative officer of the New York office, will continue to oversee the creative department.
The goal is to reorganize the New York office’s creative department along the lines of Saatchi’s London shop, which began the core group structure in the early 1980s but continued to maintain an autonomous creative department. The New York office switched to the core groups in 1993, breaking up that department.