Tide and Saatchi & Saatchi – Agency/Client Relationship

Relationships between advertising agencies and their clients differ from case to case, but one core aspect that is key to a successful relationship relates to Sims’ (2004) belief that clients want “an agency that understands [their] complex company and is willing to…put [their] company at the centre of the agency’s priorities.”

Saatchi & Saatchi is responsible for several brand accounts under Procter & Gamble (P&G). While P&G and Saatchi now have a great agency-client relationship, O’Leary (2003) reveals that it was not always a success story. Over 15 years ago, the outlook for Saatchi retaining the Tide account (which had been among the ad agency’s clients since 1961 (Parekh & Bruell, 2013)) was looking grim. O’Leary (2003) explains that it was through a change of outlook and strategy that Saatchi bounced back from the brink of demise and is now among P&G’s prized ad agencies. Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, said that his team “knew our future lay in doing great work for our existing clients” (O’Leary, 2003), not being distracted by menial clients.

One such example of great work, and as a result of a slowly strengthening relationship, was the Tide Knows Fabrics Best campaign in 2007 (Kotler & Armstrong, n.d.). This campaign saw P&G executives and the Saatchi team gather together for intense research into Tide’s customers (Kotler & Armstrong, n.d.). A shared vision of positioning Tide as a brand that understood its customers was the key to the success of the campaign. The partners took their newfound knowledge of their customers and created a series of commercials tapping into the “empathy gap,” which resulted in a household penetration of 37% in 2007 from 33.6% in 2005 (Barwise & Meehan, 2012).

Parekh & Bruell (2013) state that the agency and client relationship between Saatchi and Tide “has evolved into a partnership with ambitious goals” through their large scale and innovative work, such as their Super Bowl campaigns.

In 2013, Saatchi produced a Super Bowl ad titled “Miracle Stain,” which Campaign Brief (2013) describes as “one of the creative highlights of Super Bowl XLVII” and was “rated the second best ad of the weekend’s big game in USA Today’s prestigious Ad Meter poll” (Saatchi & Saatchi, 2013). They also produced a ‘digital roadblock’ Super Bowl twitter campaign, which drew a lot of attention in Times Square (Outfront Media USA, 2013). Both campaigns were successes in their own right, but there’s no doubt that through Saatchi’s strengths in research, creativity, innovation and concepts of entertainment, the ad agency has carried the Tide name through to a new platform of brand recognition, and thus overtime has strengthened the once grave relationship with P&G.

In essence, it was in Saatchi & Saatchi’s ability to change their business strategy and “grow with [their] best clients” (O’Leary, 2003) that saved their relationship with P&G, as well as producing award winning creative work that positioned P&G’s brands as more than ‘just brands’, as seen specifically through their work with Tide.


Barwise, P., & Meehan, S. (2012, September 9). Marketing Case Studies: Tide – Bridging the Empathy Gap and Selling the Top Brass (Part 2). Retrieved March 18, 2015 from CommPRO: http://www.commpro.biz/marketing/international-marketing/marketing-case-studies-tide-from-technical-breakthrough-to-long-term-money-machine-part-2/

Campaign Brief. (2013, February 7). Saatchi New York’s ‘Miracle Stain’ spot for Tide one of the creative highlights of Super Bowl XLVII. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from Campaign Brief: http://www.campaignbrief.com/2013/02/saatchi-new-yorks-miracle-stai.html

Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (n.d.). Principles of Marketing. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from Queen’s University: http://engineering.queensu.ca/Outreach/EngineeringStudents/files/Pearson-MarketingText-Ch1.pdf

O’Leary, N. (2003, January 13). Global Agency of the Year 2002: Saatchi & Saatchi – Old Dogs, New Tricks. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/global-agency-year-2002-saatchi-saatchi-old-dogs-new-tricks-60897

Outfront Media USA. (2013, September 10). Digital Roadblock- TIDE Twitter Campaign [Video Clip]. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDrSEjPmcvE

Parekh, R., & Bruell, A. (2013, April 29). Seven Strong Unions Earn Honorable Mention in Ad Age’s Agency-Client Marriages Contest. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from Advertising Age: http://adage.com/article/agency-news/7-unions-honored-client-agency-marriage-contest/241096/

Saatchi & Saatchi. (2013, February 7). Tide Takes #2 Spot in Super Bowl Ad Meter. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from Saatchi & Saatchi: http://saatchi.com/en-us/news/tide_takes_no_2_spot_in_super_bowl_ad_meter/

Sims, M. (2004). Agency Account Handling. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Heineken – “Are You Still With Us?” Campaign

The Auditorium event, as part of the “Are you still with us” campaign for Heineken was scheduled on the 21st October 2009, the same time as the Champions League soccor match (AotW, 2010). This event saw 1136 Italian football supporters in the form of boyfriends, employees and students all being swindled by certain authoritative figures within their lives in being convinced to sacrifice watching the biggest game of the year to attend a fake classical music concert organised by Heineken (Hess, 2012). After 15 minutes into the concert, it was revealed that the audience had been pranked, and were rewarded for their sacrifice by watching the match live on the screen within the concert theatre, courtesy of Heineken (Hess, 2012).

Image Source: WARC, 2011

Elliott et al (2012) states that publicity stunts’ “effectiveness relies on its ability to take its target unawares – they don’t expect it, so they don’t filter it out”. Being an organised event which was unknown to most of the attendees, Heineken’s Auditorium event was effectively a publicity stunt.

One core aspect of Heineken’s campaign strategy was to “use communication to talk to a few, but be overheard by many” (WARC, 2011). This strategy was clearly successful, due to the targeted audience of the prank being a mere 1136 people, yet an estimated 16.5 million people were exposed to the campaign through various news channels, blogs, forums and social media (Hess, 2012), as well as 20 million views on the website created for the campaign (WARC, 2011). The event was intentionally broadcast live on SKY Sports (Hepburn, 2010), reaching a large viewer base, however, journalists were also among the Auditorium attendees swindled by their employers (Hess, 2012); which encouraged another channel of free press coverage for the event. The value of the free media for this event was valued at over €560k (WARC, 2011), indicating that the campaign’s success was communicated through many channels and media.

Image Source: WARC, 2011
Image Source: WARC, 2011

The objectives of the campaign were to maintain Heineken’s volume share; grow a greater sense of loyalty to the brand; and maintain the premium imagery of the brand (WARC, 2011). WARC (2011) reports that Heineken’s volume and value share both increased from a slowly declining rate due to the campaign. Through the campaign, Heineken created a unique brand experience which contributed to consumer perception, and positively influenced a certain degree of loyalty to the brand as seen in post campaign research indicating a 6.3% increase in consumers believing Heineken is “a brand one can trust.” (WARC, 2011) This research also found a 5.2% increase in consumers believing that Heineken is “a brand worth the price” (WARC, 2011), fulfilling the final objective of the campaign.

Image Source: WARC, 2011
Image Source: WARC, 2011

In retrospect, the Auditorium event as a publicity stunt was a major success for Heineken, as it not only effectively produced desirable outcomes from the campaign objectives, but it was also a bold and clever endeavour that broke through the clutter of advertising and attracted significant media coverage.


AotW. (2010). Heineken: Champions League Match vs Classical Concert (Real Madrid, AC Milan). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from Ads of the World: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/ambient/heineken_champions_league_match_vs_classical_co ncert_real_madrid_ac_milan

Elliott, G., Rundle-Thiele, S., & Waller, D. (2012). Marketing (2nd ed.). China: John Wiley & Sons.

Hepburn, A. (2010, March 15). Heineken: Guerrilla Marketing Event In Italy. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from Digital Buzz: http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/heineken-guerrilla-marketing-event-in-italy/

Hess, D. (2012, March 15). Heineken – UEFA Champions League – Real Madrid vs Milan [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqbI0sqNe8o

WARC. (2011). Heineken Italia: Are you still with us? Retrieved March 18, 2015, from WARC: http://www.warc.com.ezproxy.canberra.edu.au/Content/ContentViewer.aspx?MasterContentR ef=f3eba7de-0bb3-463d-992e-f835d678006d&q=Heineken+madrid&CID=A94437&PUB=CANNES