The boss of the Remain campaign’s chosen advertising company has condemned its Project Fear approach and backed UK business to succeed after the Brexit vote.
M&C Saatchi today reported 15 per cent revenue growth to £100.2m and a 19 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £11.4m in the first half of the year. It also increased its dividend 15 per cent to 1.85p.
Speaking to City A.M., chief executive David Kershaw said that he is a Remainer turned “believer” (in the ability of the UK to succeed outside of the EU).
“If there was a vote tomorrow I’d still vote Remain,” he said. “But we are where we are so the job’s now to make a success of this world, not the world that might have been.”
M&C Saatchi has run a number of other political advertising campaigns in the past, including last year’s Conservative push in the general election.
Asked how the EU referendum, and working for Britain Stronger In Europe, compared with other campaigns, Kershaw said: “Clearly not as happy ending, we’re used to being on the winning side.
“It was challenging and… people had different views on strategies. I’m not sure we would entirely have followed a strategy which was universally about Project Fear. But at the end of the day the masters will decide what’s going to run and what the strategy will be.”
Kershaw also said there was not enough emphasis on immigration.
He added: “We would favour campaigns being single-minded, but I’m not sure it was single-minded about the right thing.”
Kershaw also revealed today that M&C Saatchi is set to benefit from the Brexit vote because of the falling value of the pound. Around 60 per cent of the firm’s revenue comes from overseas.
Kershaw, who acknowledges the irony of his company benefiting from Brexit, is also confident of the UK business, however.
“There was a little bit of Brexit anxiety before [the vote],” he said. “But it’s really been remarkable how that has dissolved.
“We’re not seeing any indication of people cutting back on budgets, which is obviously very positive. And going into 2017, people don’t seem to be anticipating any downturn in the consumer bit of the economy. That’s encouraging. Because we all held our breath on 24 June.”