The Conservative Party has finally taken the decision to drop Saatchi & Saatchi and move to M&C Saatchi. Officials are urgently attempting to raise at least 600,000 so the Party can work with Maurice Saatchi before the next General Election.
Maurice Saatchi has advised the Conservatives for more than 15 years and is close to senior ministers.
The 600,000 is the balance owed to Saatchi & Saatchi for its work during the 1992 General Election campaign.
Since he arrived last month, the party’s new communications director, Hugh Colver, has been scrutinising the advertising contract to see how the switch can be made.
Conservative Central Office had hoped the contract contained an escape clause, allowing it to lapse if key personnel, such as Maurice Saatchi, left the agency.
However, the Conservative Party has been advised that the clause was not written into the contract and was only included loosely in an accom-panying letter.
Lawyers say this is not enough to break the contract – and if the Conservative Party switches to M&C Saatchi, the old agency will be legally entitled to demand the immediate repayment of the 600,000.
Cordiant is unlikely to rue the account loss. Managers at the agency are privately content to be rid of it.
The Conservative account was not covered in the deal that ended all legal action between the old and new Saatchi agencies (MW May 26). But Cordiant wants its money, which is a problem for the cash-strapped Conservative Party.