Wieden + Kennedy HQ cuts back after client losses

Wieden+Kennedy is lauded by most for its estimable record of creative independence over more than 30 years but when bad times come – or not-so-good times – it wields the axe just like everyone else.

Unknown-6The company has admitted to a round of redundancies at its Portland HQ that, according to Media Bistro’s Agency Spy, which broke the story, amounts to over 30 people including one creative director. The agency employs about 500 people in Portland.

Agency spokesperson Joani Wardwell said in an email: “After parting ways with a few clients we have had to make some tough decisions regarding our staff size. Never easy. Never pleasant but unfortunately that’s the nature of the advertising business.”

Alas it is, although it’s still a shock when an agency like Wieden has to get tough (take a look at some of the comments on the Agency Spy piece).

The agency has not (so far anyway) elaborated on which accounts it’s referring to although it did lose Levi’s to FCB last year. But W+K, like many creative agencies these days, finds itself on a lot of quite lengthy rosters and if the various projects don’t come your way then staffing is an issue. Procter & Gamble is a case in point: the agency has scored mightily with Old Spice although that’s been fairly quiet recently and the corporate ads peaked at the Olympics and Paralympics. Chrysler too has been quiet since the great days of Eminem’s homage to Detroit.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.