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Saatchi & Saatchi: 40 years in advertising

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 10 September 2010

Margaret Thatcher and John Major were among the guests at a party marking 40 years since Saatchi & Saatchi was created. Arts reporter Stephanie West says it was a moment when political foes and advertising adversaries came together.

Maurice Saatchi at the Saatchi 40th anniversary party last night

Maurice and Charles Saatchi are behind some of the most memorable adverts in British history: Labour isn't working, Silk Cut and British Airways. 

The company's motto "Nothing Is Impossible" held true on Thursday night when Maurice Saatchi hosted a party to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. The move surprised many given the fact the brothers were ousted, in 1995, from the company they founded.

Years of bad blood followed when Maurice and Charles set up their own firm M&C Saatchi. The client-pinching and bitterness appeared to be forgotten last night as staff from both sides attended the event.

Both sides of the political divide were also represented. 

Margaret Thatcher was tempted out for a rare appearance. Saatchi & Saatchi was behind her famous election campaign posters, most notably Labour isn't working.  She was joined by John Major.

Some of Labour's big hitters were also invited to the Saatchi Gallery on London's Kings Road.  Saatchi &Saatchi, without its original namesakes, represented Labour under Gordon Brown. 

Labour's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell told Channel 4 News the Saatchis are a big force in the industry: "When Mrs Thatcher came along, the mass media was really changing in a big way and they came along and had a bright approach, a new approach and had some very bright ideas.

"But sometimes it's easy to over state, from an historical perspective...People always want say elections were  - posters are a technical part - elections tend to be won and lost over years by what's happening in people's lives."

Forty years after the Saatchi & Saatchi brand was born Lord Saatchi told guests that "the best is yet to come". 

The eyes of the advertising world will no doubt be watching with interest.

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