by: Karl Long

About a year ago Lord Maurice Saatchi, co-founder of the mega advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi gave a speech at Cannes on the “death of modern advertising”. He followed this speech up with an article on the Financial Times of the same title.

A year later Lord Saatchi is now creating a new division in the company that will be called “One Word Equity“, which is their response to advertising in the digital age.

Now on the point that modern advertising as we know it is if not dead, certainly in intensive care, i’m in total agreement with Lord Saatchi, where we differ is on what to do about it. To mine, and many others amazement Lord Saatchi’s solution was to outline a brand strategy to own “one word”, something he called “one word equity”. Here’s a segment from the FT article:

The word is the saviour because in each category of global business, it will only be possible for one brand to own one particular word. And some of them have already been booked.

Each brand can only own one word. Each word can only be owned by one brand. Take great care before you pick your word. It is going to be the god of your brand.

To be quite honest this seems like a rehash of 90’s brand strategy right out of Ries and Trout “Positioning, Battle For The Mind”.

I personally think this is a strategic move by Saatchi to try and stay relevant by trying to redefine the problem with advertising, so you can still use advertising. Sort of advertising is dead, except for when your trying to gain one word equity, because believe me you need a lot of tv ads to own one word. I really think he is playing on “big brands” fears of “if advertising is dead WTF do I do next” and Saatchi’s “one word equity” has one big advantage, it’s incredibly simple to understand and will probably seem like a life preserver to a lot of top marketing folks at big brands.

Advertising isn’t dying because companies aren’t owning the right words, advertising is dead because companies have become transparent and porous. Consumers are no longer limited to discovering a companies products through company controlled channels and media, their finding out about products through other people, through wikis, blogs, podcasts, youtube, myspace, facebook, yelp, flickr, email, im, twitter, tumbler, google, delicious, pounce etc.

Anyway, Lord Saatchi is pretty committed to this idea, and in advertising agency tradition has put a big flash site together at so you can go and immerse yourself in what they think, funny, there is no where to leave comments.

See what other bloggers think of this:

deborah schultz

one funny side note do a search on google for “saatchi speech” and this is the number one result “Lord Saatchi’s ‘Death Of Advertising’ Speech Is ‘Utter Rubbish’

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