Saatchi & Saatchi used to take a made-to-order approach to credentials. Each kit was so specific to the prospect—from content to design—that "we were basically reinventing the wheel each and every time," says Bob McKinnon, director of new-business development at the New York shop.
The process was laborious and expensive. The Publicis Groupe agency still customizes its overtures but now works from a template that features a rectangular book of case histories that's fastened by screws, so staffers can swap pages in and out without betraying the overall design. New pages can be created in-house and inserted in a day, ensuring a quick turnaround.
Black, gray and white are the primary colors of the packet, which bears the theme, "Do I question enough?" Inside a gray brushed felt pouch are the book, two blank pads for note-taking, a VHS tape of TV work and a CD-ROM of the same. The book's case histories are divided by silver page openers that ask questions (in hand-scrawled type) such as, "How do you reverse a brand's aging process?" (Olay) and "Can you make a photograph speak?" (Kodak). The questions and cases vary, depending on Saatchi's take on what the prospect wants. "It's meant to be a very approachable piece, a great way to start a discussion," says McKinnon.
The felt is unusual for a credentials kit, and the texture has an organic feel, although the pouch does shed, leaving gray hairs on those who handle it.
Saatchi has distributed about 100 kits to consultants and both prospective and current clients since unveiling it in spring 2003, according to McKinnon. Of the 20 or so prospects, all but one responded by inviting the shop to the next round of chats, McKinnon says. The kit also won a silver Addy this year in the category of Best Agency Self Promotion.