Saatchi Team Takes On Big G

Saatchi & Saatchi’s Mark Cacciatore and Ron Arnold get some of their best ideas for cereal ads from their kids.

The creative partners, recently promoted to the new post of evp, executive creative director worldwide on General Mills, strive to reflect reality—Cacciatore calls it “the mirror”—when crafting ads.

For instance, a TV spot for Cheerios that broke in January, “Breakfast in Bed,” was based on a Saturday-morning ritual in which Arnold’s two daughters would jump onto their parents’ bed, bowls of cereal in hand, at 7 a.m.

In just more than a year as partners and group cds, Arnold, 51, and Cacciatore, 43, have turned small, real-life moments into spots for Cheerios and Kodak. They will now focus exclusively on the estimated $300 million General Mills account, which has grown significantly in the past year with the addition of brands such as Wheaties, Pillsbury and Jolly Green Giant.

Rather than create the ads, their job now is to guide as many as 40 creatives at one time. They continue to report to New York chief creative officer Tod Seisser.

Cacciatore, whose mentors include David Fowler and Jim Ferguson, is a bundle of energy, rolling a mini- basketball on his leg as he talks animatedly about his job. Arnold, who cut his teeth as Roy Grace’s assistant in the mid-1970s, is more reserved. Both said they believe great advertising comes from living a full life.

“We’re like, get in, work hard but work smart,” said Cacciatore, who joined the Publicis Groupe agency in 2000 after a year at Young & Rubicam. “And then get out and go live and use those experiences to enrich the creative.” Added Arnold, who gave up a freelance career to join Saatchi in early 2002: “Ultimately, what people discover is, actually you become a better advertiser.”