Maurice Saatchi, who once resurrected his career after he was ousted from the ad agency he had co-launched and made the world's largest, wants to rescue the industry from a looming death.

He told advertising executives from around the world, who are convened at their annual meeting in the south of France, that they and their clients ought to reduce their strategies to finding just one word to characterize their brand.

"What I am describing here is a new business model for marketing, appropriate to the digital age," he said in formal remarks to the gathering. "In this model, companies compete for global ownership of one word in the public mind."


To help companies develop and implement what Saatchi calls "one word equity", his firm, M&C Saatchi Plc, is launching a new business unit called The Word.

"We have put together a series of programmes that is going to help clients find the word, test the word and then spread the word," he told Reuters on Thursday evening in an interview following the speech.

"The way out of the box that people in advertising feel themselves to be in, with the earth being thrown on top of it, is for there to be a new business model," he said during his first ever visit to the Cannes advertising festival.

That business model is guided by the Bible, according to Saatchi, specifically the gospel of St. John, where it is written that "In the beginning was the word ... and the word was God."

"The word that guides everything that is the god, or the brand, is one word," Saatchi said. "You can't have two words. Two words is two gods and two gods is one too many."

As examples, he said Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) owns the word "search", Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) "innovation" and America "freedom".

And his own firm's word equity? Simplicity.

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