Muhammed Ali is the latest contender to throw a knock-out punch at Saatchi & Saatchi.
The sports shoe business Aero US, in which Ali has a majority holding, has dropped Saatchi subsidiary Wavelength Creative Marketing from its UK business. It originally linked up with the company to plan its sales and distribution in the UK.
Aero US is now looking for an agency to handle its advertising account, worth about Ãº3.2m over two years, and its UK launch, scheduled for March.
Aero says it argued with Wavelength over payments made to freelances. It has also blamed “bad publicity about Saatchi in the US”.
The UK launch will probably include television and poster campaigns.
“We had problems with some of the ways Saatchi wanted to do business,” says Aero UK spokesman Peter Reynolds.
However, Saatchi claims it has not been dropped and never formally held the account. Reynolds worked as a consultant at Wavelength for only a month, the agency claims.
“It’s a very messy personal business. It’s all a bit of nonsense,” says Saatchi joint managing director Tamara Ingram.
The Aero brand has sales of $120m (Ãº80m) worldwide.