Everybody’s losing their jobs in Covid-19 – here are some of the ones that really should go

I see that Omnicom’s BBDO, arguably the most successful global creative agency in business terms over the last ten years is axing staff, including New York CCO Greg Hahn. Well we all have to take the pain.

After this is over I reckon that there’ll be half as many creative agency staff across the world as there was in January. Media agencies, who employ far many, will also presumably suffer although they seem to be able to defy the weather.

So, in a spirit of complete bad taste, who could we really do without in the Covid-19 global cull?

Bankers

Totally useless but they always seem to keep their jobs – or get paid off and re-hired. Lloyds bank in the UK (where I have three accounts, heaven knows why) still makes About £5bn a year profit, despite paying out over £20bn in wrongful PPI charges (payment protection insurance) in the years since the financial crisis in 2008.

Is this work? Get rid of them.

Royal Bank of Scotland (NatWest as it now likes to be known), another bank bailed out by UK taxpayers, is even worse: driving lots of businesses into extinction. Only the foot soldiers have gone to jail.

A couple of years ago Howard Davies was appointed chairman. Prior to that he was never off the radio talking about financial this and that. Since then nary a squeak. But money talks.

Investment bankers

As above – cull.

Private equity

Ditto, bandits the lot of them.

Hedge Fundies

Same. These people were making loads of dosh while the world economy (pre-virus) stubbornly refused to grow. Ergo, they’re useless. Not necessary (ten years’ of unpaid social work would be a merciful sentence.)

And now to adverts – or comms as we ‘re supposed to call it.

PR

I’ve had a bad week with PR people, one muppet trying to re-write a headline for a contributed article (‘eff off), another selling me a rather dog-eared piece that was than re-directed to a freesheet that nobody (especially now ) is reading.

I know life is tough in PR land but the old adage used to be ‘tell the truth or don’t say anything.’ There are too many desperate PR’s nagging journalists about crap stories just because they’ve stupidly promised the client they can get coverage.

Cull 90 per cent I’d say. Apparently there are four PR’s for every journalist in the US. Why?

In UK adland Persuasion and Velvet at least know the rules.

Suits and creatives

Everybody bows down to creatives, or at least the notion of creativity. But how mqny agencies and others walk the walk? Or even know what it is?

WPP, for example, talks about “creative transformation” but is there a top notch creative anywhere high up in the whole organisation?

All sorts of other agencies hire creatives from time to time – media agencies for example. But media agencies just don’t get creative, their job is to spend the client’s money – wherever they can – not produce ideas. When they do they’re usually rubbish. But they keep hiring chief creative officers. Pull the other one, you do something different.

At the same time too many creative agency creatives are screamingly useless: failed painters, writers or film makers. A good suit – account man – is the person who pulls it all together. There are some stupid suits, obviously.

Assessing someone’s creative abilities, in whatever medium, is one of the hardest things on earth. They make lots of mistakes in an unforgiving world. Lots of good ones will be culled in this virus. But please don’t put idiots in charge of them, good suits makes creatives work.

Who’s left? Well that’s enough. Hope some of the good ones survive.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.