Saatchi & Saatchi creative duo swap Telecom for rose sniffing

After a tough couple of years working primarily on the Telecom account at Saatchi & Saatchi, creative group heads Connan James and Craig Farndale have packed their bags and gone free range.

The pair worked at Saatchis during a rather difficult time, with a recent staff spring clean that saw a host of big executive, creative, planning and suit changes. But James, who also spent four years as senior copywriter at M&C Saatchi, says they were only ever employed there on a contract basis for a couple of years and the contract has now come to an end, so there’s “nothing untoward or unpleasant” about their departure.

James, who has just returned from a week in Bali with a delightful case of campylobacter, says he doesn’t really have anything planned at this stage, aside from revelling in the joys of freelancing and perhaps trying to squeeze in a few more runs. On the work front, they have already done a couple of gigs at other agencies, one of which he can’t talk about, the other one being for Sugar.

The pair have worked together as a creative team for around ten years and while the release says they worked on all the major Saatchi clients including Westpac, DB, and Toyota, James says they pretty much worked on Telecom during their time at the agency. And he says it’s not a particularly bad thing to have a break after such a long time with such a large, difficult account.

Telecom has a reputation for being rather hierarchical and controlling, and while James agrees, he says it is understandable given the difficult business it is in and the pressure it’s currently under.

The pair’s work for Telecom’s XT launch, which featured Richard Hammond (and also nabbed a Bronze and Silver EFFIE), ended up being rather controversial, especially after the well-documented failure of the network. But their most recent and much more satisfying Telecom work was for the new online community ­ BackingBlack, a supporters’ club for the All Blacks that offers fans access to events and experiences with the players.

Along the way, they have picked up Gold at Clio, Silver and Bronze at Cannes, and plenty of metal at Axis, AWARD and other shows. They also picked up a finalist at Cannes and Silver at Axis in radio for ‘Casanova’ for TVNZ.

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