Release of Unapproved Ads Get Saatchi Fired


The ongoing uproar over the Saatchi and Saatchi London-created ads for Dr. Martens which showed various rock artists sitting in heaven wearing the brand's steel toed boots has resulted in Dr. Martens parent company AirWair Ltd. firing Saatchi. The ads, which Saatchi claims Dr. Martens approved to run once in the UK's Fact Magazine caused a bit of controversy and complaint. Dr. Martens claims the images in the ads were not approved stating the work is "counter to our current marketing activities based on FREEDM, which is dedicated to nurturing grass roots creativity and supporting emerging talent."

Saatchi says it stands by the work, feels it is not offensive, promises to investigate why the ads were released beyond their intended destination and to "consider the ongoing employment" of the person who may have released the ads to the public. Oh my how things escalate.

UPDATE: Potions of this item have been changed to reflect corrections received from Saatchi & Saatchi UK and Dr. Martens.

by Steve Hall    May-24-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Policy   

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This screams FAKE!

Do you really believe Saatchi in their response actually spelled Kurt Cobain name wrong?!?

Posted by: Brian H on May 24, 2007 4:23 PM

Haha. Scam is found out!

Ran ONCE?? Right...that is officially called scam. Typical.

Score one for creative ethics.

Posted by: dansko on May 25, 2007 12:53 AM

In case you're interested here is the Martens campaign.

Posted by: ads of the world | advertising archive on May 25, 2007 1:53 AM

It is not unusual for companies to approve an ad concept and once the ad creates a headache of sorts, to fire the ad agency. It is lame, but it is a reality.

FYI, I have never worked for an ad agency.

Posted by: Herbert on May 25, 2007 7:49 AM

Does anyone here feel as if they're coming down with an infection? A small viral infection? Achoo!

Posted by: Kurre on May 25, 2007 9:07 AM

Please. If it ran without the client's approval, it says more about the client than it does about Saatchi. This is either a scam or Saatchi is being thrown under the bus. Either way it's lame.

Posted by: Kevin Dugan on May 25, 2007 9:15 AM

The wordsandpictures take:

Posted by: Jamie Lirette on May 28, 2007 11:01 AM

Everything Charles Saatchi touches involves some type of scam. Saatchi’s site,, including STUART is a scam. There traffic ranking is very deceptive. Go to and you will see that the largest group on the site based on country is India making up 16.5%. Most art sites and websites in general have the United States, United Kingdom and Germany as their three top countries for traffic. Saatchi has India, Thailand and Indonesia which all happen to have a market for pay-per-click services.

So my guess is that the marketing brains behind Saatchi’s art site has paid some of those companies to visit the site in order to fudge their numbers. Need more proof about Saatchi’s little white lie? The United States and United Kingdom each make up less than 0.6% of the membership. Germany makes up 1.1%. Russia only makes up 1.2%. So that means most of the hubs of the international art world are hardly represented on the site. Anyone else think that is strange? When compared to other popular art sites?

People have said it before and I will say it again, the only reason people put work on Saatchi’s site is because his name is on it. His site looks like it came from the mid 1990s. You tell me how a poorly designed site with an outdated look has become one of the top 300 websites in the world. Don’t bother. I know the answer. Millions of hands paid to visit and Saatchi’s huge bank account to pay them.

Posted by: Aiz on December 14, 2008 1:44 AM