Spotlight On: Saatchi & Saatchi LA’s President, Chuck Maguy

When he began his career in advertising, Chuck Maguy set out to combine his love of cars with a passion for storytelling. Now, as the president of Saatchi & Saatchi LA, he contines to create emotional connections between consumers and top automotive brands like Toyota. 

ClickZ (CZ): How did you get started in advertising?

Chuck Maguy (CM): I graduated from Stanford and moved from the Bay Area down to the LA area in 1992. I was evaluating all my options and I happened to interview at Team One, and it really brought together my love of television and cars. Lexus was really in its infancy, the brand didn’t start up until 1989. So I joined Team One when it was small in the media department. I got to work on the original Monday Night Football deal; I set up the first the deal with the LA Times. So I just married media with a passion for cars that I stumbled into.

CZ: It seems like Saatchi & Saatchi LA continues to marry a love of storytelling and cars. You do a lot of work in the automotive space with brands like Toyota. Which campaign from 2014 stands out as your favorite work?

CM: This last year, my favorite thing that we’ve worked on has been “The Bold New Camry,” which launched this fall. And I think what’s unique about this launch is that it’s the first time in working with Toyota that we’ve put in play our Total Toyota, or T2. We changed a lot of the processes along with our partner agencies that work on Toyota and our client to make sure that all the communications we’ve created around the Camry launch were giving the consumer a consistent face of Toyota. In the past, we would have had four separate swim lanes with separate ideas, approaches, and executions geared toward different target markets. From a big-picture standpoint that was something I’m most proud of because it was a sea change in the way we’re going to market going into the future.

CZ: Brands are becoming increasingly savvy to digital marketing and are often moving some of this in house. What is Saatchi & Saatchi LA doing to adapt to these changes?

CM: Here at Saatchi & Saatchi LA we’ve created Central Agency Analytics, the hub for all of our data streams that come out of the different channels we work in to get a better picture of objectively what’s working, what isn’t, and how we best optimize. We’ve made a movement toward programmatic, which we’re doing in-house. By having the media planning in house we’re continuing to increase the use of data to serve the right ad at the right time, so we’re seeing a huge rise in programmatic media buying and trying to eliminate that media wastage. I think the importance of linking data to serving the right ad at the right time is one of the big things we’re going to put tremendous emphasis on in 2015. We have a whole group of people — media buyers, creatives, strategists — who have become experts at the programmatic type marketing

CZ: What trends in digital marketing do you currently find most exciting?

CM: I’m getting excited about continuing to bring some of the personalization at scale that we’ve seen in areas that have been low. I’m excited to see that happen a little more in the social space. I think one of the campaigns I admired from the outside was Coke’s Super Bowl campaign last year, but it wasn’t because of the spot. When they took that ad to Facebook, they targeted different languages and showed a still of the spot from those different cultures in the social environment. That smart, targeted marketing in the age of social is pretty exciting to me and something I would hold up and say, “Wow, I wish we’d done something like that.” Hopefully we’ll potentially do more things like that.

CZ: Are you seeing a greater shift in budgets put toward digital elements such as social from clients?

CM: Marketers are realizing they have to be in more places. I think brands will always want to tell stories. Brands will always want to drive awareness. We’re just seeing more and more places where we can start to create emotional connections with consumers and it creates a tremendous opportunity for us to be creative. Not just in how we storytell but how we create those connections given the continued flexibility in what those channels allow us to do.

CZ: How do you create individualized connections while still keeping the brand message unified across channels?

CM: It starts with the work that we’re doing having to have a stronger point of view and focus on the emotions, the messages and the brand identity that we want to put forward. Ironically, you can put a stronger emphasis on strategy so that everyone is launching off the same platform while then enabling the communication channels to customize that platform to be as relevant as possible. The key is that the consumer is seeing a consistent face of the brand no matter where they interact with us. We want to drive relevancy in each of those places, but you have to have that focus in the beginning so that everything links to consistent idea.

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