Saatchi CEO Shoots Back at Unilever

Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts has made an “impassioned stand” against Unilever Chairman Niall FitzGerald’s accusation that ad agencies are failing to keep up with the communications needs of modern companies, according to an Advertising Age report.

Roberts spoke at the annual conference of the European Advertising Agencies’ Association in Budapest last week. It was the same platform FitzGerald had used a year earlier.

Roberts declared himself unconcerned that his speech was likely to send any chance of winning Unilever business “sub-zero,” Ad Age said.

“The assumption that large agencies are stuck in a competitive time warp, not knowing how to respond is wrong. The metaphor is wrong. We’re not dinosaurs, we’re Godzilla and we want it all: TV, print, bill- boards, infomercials, radio, pencils, skywriting, the Web. If it’s the right medium to communicate, we’ll embrace it and use it,” he was quoted as saying.

Roberts spelled out Saatchi’s “digital smarts” – such as its ownership of new media shops and the spread of its interactive teams. He also cited its Web projects for Toyota, Hewlett Packard and General Mills, and its Web-based Innovation in Communication Award, and suggested most other agencies were just as advanced.

The full text of the story is available at AdAge.

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