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Home / Profile / Ann Hayden:
A career built as a work of imagination

Ann Hayden:
A career built as a work of imagination

As vice chairman/chief creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications, Rochester’s largest advertising agency, Ann Hayden is one of the most powerful women on the local advertising scene. Don’t expect her to reveal the strategy behind her rise to the top, however.
For Hayden–a free spirit who in the 1970s traveled around the country working various odd jobs, from restroom attendant to telephone interviewer–being a corporate honcho was not a goal.
“I didn’t have a career path,” she says. Boredom with the routine, not some grand scheme, prompted her to move on.
She followed her heart and found her passion in writing.
That passion has defined her career, but not limited it. Hayden has worked as a reporter for the Bay State Banner, an African-American newspaper in Roxbury, Mass., and as a free-lance magazine writer. And she has dabbled in screenplay writing.
Her vagabond life took a decisive turn in 1982 when she took a copywriter job at Rumrill-Hoyt Inc. The same year, Saatchi & Saatchi PLC, the parent corporation, acquired Rumrill-Hoyt; it changed the Rochester agency’s name to Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications in 1995.
Hayden left in 1985 to join a creative boutique, but returned to the agency three years later as senior copywriter.
Around the same time Hayden met and fell in love with Daniel Lytle, who also worked in the advertising business, and they decided to tie the knot.
“It was so natural for me to get married to him,” she recalls. “He is a part of me, and I am a part of him.”
With her personal life settled, Hayden threw herself into her career. Her rise at Rumrill-Hoyt was meteoric.
Shortly after she became senior copywriter, Hayden was promoted to creative supervisor. From there, she rose to creative director, vice president/creative director, executive vice president/executive creative director, and, most recently, vice chairman.
The promotions were not automatically handed to her. Hayden lobbied hard for the executive creative director position, but lost to an outside hire. When that person did not work out, Hayden lobbied again.
The second time, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Tim Cronin listened.
“I (initially) thought she couldn’t do it,” Cronin recalls. “But she proved me wrong. By the time she was appointed, I believed she could do it. She just kept on outperforming expectations.”
Cronin credits Hayden with motivating the creative staff to turn out the best possible work.
“She inspires people,” he observes. “She sets standards here.”
Cronin thinks Hayden was instrumental in helping the agency win the DuPont Co. corporate account in 1993. The agency had served portions of the DuPont account since 1944, but captured the entire account after it was named agency of record.
Saatchi & Saatchi had to compete against not only other agencies, but arms of its parent company in other cities, as well.
DuPont is one of Saatchi & Saatchi PLC’s eight largest accounts globally. The Rochester office also serves Eastman Kodak Co.’s Kodak Professional account, another top 10 Saatchi & Saatchi PLC client.
“We would have never gotten any of those accounts without her,” Cronin says.
With $112 million in capitalized billings, Saatchi & Saatchi easily ranks as Rochester’s largest advertising agency. The Kodak Professional and DuPont businesses account for most of the billings at the agency, though Saatchi & Saatchi declines to disclose the exact amount.
Jamie Murray, DuPont global brand manager, says Hayden has played a key role in helping create DuPont’s corporate identity.
“We’re very comfortable with Ann and the whole team,” Murray says. “The standout aspect of our relationship with Saatchi is our ability to go beyond everyday words and images (in marketing communications.)”
Some products DuPont sells are marketed under the brand names Teflon, Corian, Lycra and Stainmaster. Murray credits Hayden’s strategies with helping DuPont grow as a company, and as a brand worldwide.
Ironically, Hayden’s insistence on global thinking cost the agency a major client temporarily. Saatchi & Saatchi was fired by Kodak in summer 1995 for not responding to the parameters of an agency review. The review called for agencies to respond on a region-by-region basis.
Instead, Hayden and her team pitched the account from a global perspective. The Kodak Printing and Publishing account went to Eric Mower and Associates Inc.
Instead of fretting about losing one of the agency’s largest accounts, Hayden stuck to her gut belief to think globally. Seven months later, Kodak dropped EMA and took its account back to Saatchi & Saatchi. The renamed Kodak Professional unit selected Saatchi & Saatchi as its agency of record.
Hayden thinks Saatchi & Saatchi’s global reach is what sets the agency apart.
The Rochester office serves as the worldwide headquarters for Saatchi & Saatchi PLC’s business-to-business clients, and connects with other business communications offices in New York City; Geneva; London; Melbourne, Australia; Paris; Hong Kong; and Tokyo. Saatchi & Saatchi PLC is the world’s 12th-largest advertising agency.
Business communications lacks the glamour and prestige of consumer accounts, Hayden acknowledged, but she says it takes no less thought and strategy to execute successful business-to-business plans.
“In business communications, we put a lot of emphasis on branding,” she says. “People are buying from us over time; it’s relationship building.”
Business communications are sharply focused, she adds. Agency staffers use extensive research to better understand the people companies seek to reach.
“Our relationship with (the likes of) DuPont is much deeper than a tube of toothpaste,” Hayden adds.
Recently, Saatchi & Saatchi received the coveted Sawyer Award, issued by Advertising Age magazine, for the best business-to-business advertising in 1997. The honor recognized the agency’s work on the Comdisco Inc. account.
The technology company wanted to enhance its image in the business community, and a Wall Street Journal subscriber-panel survey found a 67 percent increase in business-consumer awareness after the launch of the Comdisco advertising campaign.
Hayden led the creative team on the Comdisco campaign. Its theme: “Managing technology in the face of change.”
This week, Hayden added another feather to the agency’s cap with the Best of Show honors at the Rochester Advertising Federation’s Addy Awards. (Other winners are listed on page 16.) The award was split between two Saatchi & Saatchi campaigns: a public-service effort for the Lupus Foundation of America and a DuPont corporate print-advertisement campaign.
Hayden is proud of the agency’s dedication to worthy causes and its pro-bono work. The lupus campaign, launched in October, is the largest commitment to a pro-bono effort by the Rochester office. More than 30 staffers spent almost a year on the project, contributing work valued at more than $500,000.
“We wanted to pick a cause where we can really make a difference,” she says.
Hayden thought a mass-media campaign would elevate awareness of the disease, which has taken its toll in relative obscurity. The agency’s work featured images of women in pain asking the question: “Why don’t we believe the pain of Lupus is real? Maybe because most of its victims are women.”
Hayden enjoys supporting women’s causes and mentoring women in the advertising industry.
“Sometimes I’ll be in a meeting and I’m the only woman with 11 guys,” she notes, “and I’ll say: ‘This is not right.”’
White males still predominate in advertising, Hayden says. In this age of delivering media messages to the market of one, Hayden thinks diversity in ad-agency staffing will help create a wealth of images that more accurately reflect today’s society.
Saatchi & Saatchi participates in a minority internship program sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Hayden wants to introduce more young people from diverse backgrounds to the field of advertising.
While Hayden is not involved in the business side of Saatchi & Saatchi, she knows the agency must be fiscally healthy for her creative team to be free to do outstanding work. She points to the lupus campaign as an example. If the agency were financially strapped, it would not be able to contribute $500,000 worth of work to the cause.
“In order to do what we want to do creatively, we have to think like a business,” she says. “We have to have an agency that thrives so we can take risks.”
Since Hayden rejoined Saatchi & Saatchi, the firm has almost doubled its capitalized billings.
Hayden does not claim credit for the agency’s growth, insisting on sharing praise with the entire staff. But some co-workers think Hayden’s creative prowess wins not only critical kudos, but accounts, as well.
“Her principal gift is knowing what people feel and need,” said Tony Caccamo, creative director of the DuPont team at Saatchi & Saatchi. “It translates directly into power–to create an idea people can relate to.”
“She has the ability to see what we’re doing and add to it,” said Bob Nisson, creative director of the Kodak Professional account. “She adds dimension to the work.”
Looking ahead, Hayden says she plans to help the agency continue its growth. Her ambition does not stop there, however.
“My hope is to get more chunks of business to use to make communications that will change the future,” she says. “You want to be able to impact the world.”

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