The Curse of Saatchi Strikes Again! Ad Agency Steered British PM's Losing Campaign

Last Updated May 12, 2010 12:08 PM EDT

British prime minister Gordon Brown resigned yesterday after losing the election there, and nowhere was the pain of the loss more acute than at Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad agency Brown's ruling Labour Party used for their election campaign. The rub: Incoming Conservative PM David Cameron was backed by M&C Saatchi, the rival shop spawned in revenge after Saatchi's founders were booted from their own business in a 1995 boardroom coup.

The fact that Saatchi & Saatchi backed the losing candidate is, in some ways, not a surprise: Although Saatchi has a splendid record advertising traditional consumer goods such as Procter & Gamble (PG)'s Tide laundry detergent or Toyota (TM) cars, whenever the agency's leaders step into nontraditional areas such as politics or sport, disaster follows. Among those debacles:

Silver lining: The Conservative/Liberal Democrat pact that has formed a new government in Britain is doomed to fail, given its internal divisions and the dire economics of the country. Expect a new general election to be called anytime between the next seven months and four years. Saatchi may yet get a second bite of the cherry.