M&C Saatchi


M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi, a world-renowned ad agency with offices spanning 20 countries, streamlined its prepress workflow in its London production studio by employing TWIST and a web-based content approval system. Creating 50-100 newspaper ads daily for clients who include top shelf retailers and very recognizable brand companies, the agency’s operation needs to be efficient, fast, and accurate.

The London studio was formed in 2003 to meet the art needs of the agency, which originally shied away from prepress production. When Jake Siney was brought on board as prepress manager, his mission was to bring production and delivery in-house. The studio’s first foray into workflow, says Siney, “was good for basic stuff, but we wanted more. We wanted to be able to do on-line approvals and more color work on the fly. We wanted more flexibility. The system was not up for the job.”

TWIST was purchased, along with Xinet’s WebNative, in 2008 through Turning Point, system integrators that acted closely with Siney to create a workflow for the agency. Siney, a TWIST user since 1999, recognizes TWIST as “up there with the best workflow tools for advertising and prepress.”

TWIST, says Siney, is twice as fast as M&C Saatchi’s previous system. “TWIST has been able to double our output,” says Siney. “So straightaway, it’s just quicker.”

The implementation of TWIST satisfied two workflow issues. First, the agency needed a system that could seamlessly integrate with the Xinet WebNative web-based on-line content approval system. Also, given the amount of ads trafficked through the studio, it needed automated prepress tools to hasten the workflow. With TWIST at the prepress helm, M&C Saatchi can now profile images on the fly — instead of converting the images for a PDF or proof in Photoshop on a Mac — and then pushing it through the workflow for a press-ready PDF.

Ads are already correctly sized as they move through TWIST, which corrects any color issues and does conversions to each publication’s specifications. “TWIST is helpful on a day to day basis,” says Siney. “We do lots of retail ads with multiple product shots. An ad might have computers, MP3 players, laptops; each ad will have lots of different photos. TWIST will process each image on the fly for resolution and color and handle the separations, rather than having us do it manually in Photoshop. Without it, we would have had to do a lot of manual work, linking the images to page layouts, and doing all the conversions.”

TWIST’s flexibility and open standard format allowed M&C Saatchi to design a process that satisfies its specific requirements. The agency sets up its workflow to split into two separate “tracks.” Low-resolution PDFs are sent to the web-based content approval system for proofing and annotation, while a high-resolution file sits in TWIST, waiting for validation. Once the low-res proof is validated, the high-res, optimized PDF is automatically sent to the FTP delivery system for distribution to the publication.

“The workflow is complex,” says Siney, “Each client has its own workflow and our retail clients all have different product requirements. They have a lot of different ads that have to go to specific people at the client end for approval, and we have to deliver the correct copy for each ad.”

One of TWIST’s biggest assets, says Siney, is its stability—critical when you are dependent on its automation tools for processing between 50-100 ads daily. “It never causes any problems at all,” says Siney. “There are no issues. It does not break down or crash with files going through. It just crushes through the work day in and day out and we don’t worry about it.”

The studio continues its quest to streamline its workflow, investigating DIALOGUE soft-proofing for contract proofs—it still uses a hard-copy traditional proof system – and the possibility of having TWIST integrated with a database asset management system.

“TWIST has made my job a lot easier on a day to day basis,” says Siney. “We are producing ads in half the time, and I don’t have to worry about anything. It takes the pressure off—it just makes my day easier.”

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