Omnicom’s GSD&M is the latest US agency to announce a round of lay-offs, continuing a grim pattern for the start of 2018. Usually these unfortunate events are a slipped out at the end of the previous year, hoping no-one will notice.
The damage seems to be worst in the US (although maybe that means other countries, like the UK, are better at hiding it.
Usually the form seems to be that the agency is reshaping itself for a different future, implying that the people let go (often creatives) are dinosaurs from a disappearing era and that they’ll be replaced with a new raft of technologists, brain surgeons etc. who, strangely, don’t seem to materialise.
Such cutbacks though leave agencies even less able to compete with the people-heavy big consultants and other companies that are invading their space.
It’s an issue for clients too. One reason for the cutbacks is, presumably, that said clients are busily reducing their fees. But if they’re not careful they’ll end up with an agency sector that simply can’t do all the things it wants them too. Then they’ll be even more reliant on the consultants who already seem to run big parts of their business.
We’d like to be optimistic about 2018 but….