Saatchi & Saatchi boss says it's stupid not to have a PA, has four himself

By AdNews | 13 June 2014
How many PAs?

Saatchi & Saatchi's global boss Kevin Roberts has four PAs. He gets them to send his hand written replies to emails. True story. Why? Because he thinks the machines are boring everybody to death and we're in danger of becoming Borg-like drones enslaved to data and analytics.

He's a an adman who believes in feeling the rhythm and is unashamedly Mad Men when it comes to executive assistants. “I have four”, he said.

“It's a mistake not having one. We've all got rid of them and dumbed down our jobs. All my guys have PAs because they're useful. If you don't have great logistics, you spend a lot of time doing your subordinate's job instead of your superior's.”

Find out what else is wrong with being always on in today's print issue of AdNews, hot off the press and made from materials that were once trees. Subscribe here. But if you like being always on you can also get it on your iPad.

In a stroke of luck that looks eerily like planning, Fonterra's new marketing director Kiril Simonovski talks about moving away from the bread and butter stuff and “taking a few more risks around genuine opportunities”. He's of the same mind as Saatchi & Saatchi's Roberts about an over reliance on “researching every to death” and wants to get back to intuition.

There's also talk of good old offline real-world help from the NRMA. It has big plans to branch out into other services that, while disrupted by the internet, are suffering from a lack of human interaction.

Meanwhile, MCN boss Anthony Fitzgerald has a ding dong with Mediabrands honcho Henry Tajer and Mindshare's Katie Rigg-Smith. He's not best pleased about what they – as in agencies broadly - are up to. Cathy O'Connor and Nicole Sheffield weigh in.

Creative agencies also hit back at media agency suggestions that clients could no longer afford to pay agencies for the bulk of their work and would turn to other providers. “Wrong,” said McCann boss Ash Farr. “Typical,” said Publicis Mojo boss Tim Parker.

Want to know what's going on in Brisbane? We have a special report focused on Queensland. State Government spending is coming back, and with it, a few chinks in the clouds that had loomed large over the Sunshine State over the last year or so. Media agencies are piling in and shaking up the market while those shops that survived the downturn have realised the need to be a bit sharper if they want to have a future in a smaller patch like Queensland.

“If creative agencies are still just offering run-of-the-mill creative executions and expecting to be paid big media retainers, they won't be around very long,” as no-nonsense Y&R Group managing director Phil McDonald puts it.

Another no-nonsense duo, John Steedman and Tom Moult, have polar views on the transient nature of life. Steedman, who is sixty, reckons sixty is the new fifty. Moult tells men (and women) aged 28 to 32 to get off their arses or face the prospect of becoming a senior copywriter at one of Wollongong's top three agencies.

Elsewhere top creatives scoff at the infatuation with 'risk', 'disruption' and 'brave' work. Matty Burton and Dave Bowman take over from Fitzy and Wippa and Frank Chung has weiner worries.

Other names you'll see in print this fortnight are: Paul Swann, Sallyanne Atkinson AO, Jonathan Drapes, Tim Weger, Jane Sullivan, Gabriela Merrick, Kylie Blucher, Susan Davis, Sean Ryan, Nick Worthington, John Pallant, Carlos Alija, Laura Sampedro, Chris Johnson, Fabio Seidl, Ashadi Hopper, Alistair Ferrier, Andy Pilkington, Matt Kemsley and Evgeny Popov.

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