The Brothers

One of the most famous ads ever produced features a photograph of an obviously pregnant man staring out at the viewer, below him the question: “Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?” Sensational for its time, powerful even today, the ad was among the earliest work produced by a team that would become one of the world’s most innovative advertising agencies, Saatchi and Saatchi. Charles and Maurice Saatchi, sons of immigrant Iraqi Jews, created that agency, and THE BROTHERS is the riveting account of how they did it.

They started in London in the early 1970’s, a perfect time for new and creative advertising; by the end of the decade they completely dominated the field in Great Britain and were ready to advance on Madison Avenue. By the end of the 1980’s they had done just that, and Saatchi and Saatchi had become the largest advertising agency the world has ever known. Along the way the brothers amassed millions of dollars, engineered Margaret Thatcher’s election campaigns, and set lasting standards in a notoriously fickle profession.

Fallon’s book is the result of two years of extensive research and interviewing. A personal friend of the Saatchi brothers, he had access to a wide range of material unavailable to others; still, his dual biography of the outgoing Maurice and the reclusive Charles is balanced and fair, unsparing in its discussions of the less attractive side of the company and its dealings with employees.

Advertising, that unlikely mixture of art and economics, hype and truth, has not been the same since the arrival of the Saatchi boys. Like David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach, they have redefined the profession. Fallon’s book is full of details and anecdotes as to how they did it, and its mixture of the business and creative aspects of advertising gives that rare thing, a balanced view of the pervasive medium that surrounds us in our daily lives.