M&C Saatchi Accelerator is the part of M&C Saatchi Group that specialises in growth businesses and businesses in transformation. With offices in London, New York and Los Angeles, the agency concerns itself with working with its clients setting ambitious targets, speeding up the creative process and delivering growth.
Founded in 2015 by partners Richard Alford and Ardy Danielewicz, the agency likes to work with hungry startups, growth businesses and brands who are in need of urgent transformation to help them stand out.
Recently, LBB’s Alex Reeves has been surrounded by the agency’s punchy work for grocery delivery platform Gorillas. Struck by the ambition of this marketing push from a startup brand, as well as other work they’ve been pushing out, he caught up with Richard and Ardy.
LBB> Usually in 5 Minutes with... we talk about people's childhoods and how they got into the ad industry, but in the interests of not getting caught in the weeds as there are two of you, let's skip that bit and fast forward to when you both met. What were you doing and what sort of people were you at the time?
Ardy> “He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it any more obvious?” LOL, not quite. The year was 2015, Richard was the MD of the London advertising agency and I was an impatient young ad man. We started pitching new business together and won some stuff. We haven’t stopped since.
LBB> And what was the initial idea with M&C Saatchi Accelerator?
Richard> Startup/scaleup businesses all have one thing in common – their ambitions are bigger than their budgets. So the core idea was to build an agency that helped them close that gap with eyeball-grabbing creative work. Most legacy agencies simply can’t cope with the demands of highly ambitious entrepreneurial clients, so we saw the gap and ran to it.
LBB> How would you describe your relationship as partners? Do you each provide different energies or are you finishing each other's sentences?
Ardy> Richard says something, I disagree. I say something, Richard disagrees.
We both secretly write down what the other said and pass it off as our own.
Clients seem to like it.
LBB> What projects have you learned the most from since then?
Ardy> We helped launch the mattress brand Eve Sleep a few years ago. In creative development we scripted a pretty mad TV commercial. The client liked it but could never buy it on the script alone. Pulling in a bunch of favours, we secretly shot it. The client loved it and it sold a lot of mattresses. Moral of the story? Make it easy for people to say yes (and have mates with cameras).
LBB> Considering the fact that your agency's clients are at a different stage of business to most clients, how does your agency need to act differently to most?
Richard> We need to be the opposite of most agencies. Where they ration creativity, we are generous with it. Where they over charge, we under charge. Where they are slow, we are fast. Where they put juniors onto accounts, we put ourselves onto all our clients. So, faster, cheaper, smarter.
LBB> Where I live I can't walk 100 metres without seeing a poster for a grocery delivery service. My social feeds are full of them. And I keep getting flyered. It really feels like there's a big marketing battle going on out there and they must all be spending buckets on that media. How did that context play into the campaign you devised for Gorillas?
Ardy> Gorillas was bang in our sweet spot: an ambitious business, in a fierce new category, needing performance creative. So we enrolled them on our Accelerator Programme – it’s a six-week sprint to deliver standout creative work which cuts through. The result? 10/10IN10.
LBB> That line is something special. Can you talk about how the team got to '10/10IN10'? It's the most numerical line in advertising, I think.
Ardy> We’re a performance creative agency so we’re about delivering exceptional commercial returns for our clients. Our Accelerator Programme radically changes the way clients think about creativity. Gone are the days of creativity being developed behind the scenes after months on end. We start wide, quickly developing up to 100 different ideas then use data and testing to narrow the selection. What comes out the other side is commercial creative which cuts through.
LBB> That work feels to me like a clear service promise. Which is pretty bold. How do you as an agency make sure the business is equipped to deliver on that promise?
Richard> We didn’t see ‘10/10 IN 10’ as a service promise. For us it meant high quality groceries and delivery. So we were praising the groceries, not the client. Having said which, when the dust settles there will be only two or three survivors in this sector and Gorillas will be one of them because they have the winning model, the backing and the balls.
LBB> What other work have you been particularly proud of recently and why?
Richard> I love our new TV ad for ZenAuto with Matt King (aka Super Hans).
Very proud of G.Network
, whose vans (with our work on them) are all over London – it’s a much needed game-changer for London broadband.
Finally, OHME is a brilliant business we are lucky to be working with. It’s an electric car charging cable that’ll fix the problem with grid overload. The guys behind it at Temporis Capital will rule the world (actually, they pretty much already do!)