London Calls For Saatchi In L.A.

West Coast Help For $75 Mil. Tobacco Account
LOS ANGELES–Saatchi & Saatchi here has extended its reach across the Atlantic to develop new work for tobacco company Rothmans International in London.
Saatchi in Los Angeles helped its sister office in the U.K. capital win the creative portion of the $75 million account, and has now been invited to help service the business. The agency’s first assignment is to work on Rothmans’ L&R brand. Media duties remain at Carat in London.
Alan Bishop, Saatchi’s London-based chairman international worldwide, said the invitation underscored the agency’s willingness to use its “best people from around the world.”
West Coast agencies often refuse to handle tobacco clients on principle.
The Southern California office is one of Saatchi’s creative lights and its $500 million in billings make it the third-largest in the agency’s $4.5 billion global network.
Led by art director Walt Harris, an eight-person team will work on the business, reporting to executive creative director Joe McDonagh. The agency’s first task will be to handle the European launch of the Winfield brand. The first work is expected later this year. Other Rothmans brands include King Size, Dunhill and Cartier.
The team staffers were all volunteers, said Los Angeles chief executive Scott Gilbert. “This is still a nonsmoking office,” he said.
The victory brings the agency back to the category after a three-year absence. M&C Saatchi took the Gallaher tobacco account in 1995.
Previously, Rothmans’ ads were created in-house and by a half-dozen agencies, which handled different brands in different markets.