As we enter the sixth week of lockdowns and working from home due to the global health crisis, agencies are finally beginning to feel the impact as more were laid off and/or furloughed last week. Independently-owned agency Mekanism, which has offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, has reportedly laid off approximately 5% of staff.
“As a direct result of the impact that COVID-19 is having on our clients and our industry at large, we have had to make strategic decisions to prepare our agency for the future,” a Mekanism spokesperson said to AgencySpy, who reported the moves. “None of these decisions were made lightly and want to thank all of those affected for their contributions to Mekanism.”
The spokesperson added that the agency is positive that the moves they make now will position them for success in “the years to come.”.”
Mekanism was the agency behind the notorious Peloton ad that ran during the holidays last year. The agency also recently created a Zola campaign featuring same-sex couples that the Hallmark Channel pulled in response to pressure from a conservative group
McCann Worldgroup layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts
McCann Worldgroup has experienced a series of layoffs, furloughs, salary cuts and reduced schedules across its agencies as well.
It was also confirmed that 215 McCann was among the agencies hit. Sources variously described the number impacted as 10%, or a total number of employees in the single digits. Widespread furloughs and salary cuts also impacted the agency, whose clients include Columbia Sportswear, LinkedIn and Xbox.
“The current health crisis is constantly evolving, and creating significant economic impact. As we navigate through this, we are taking a series of steps to ensure we can appropriately support our clients as well as the long-term vitality of the agency,” McCann Worldgroup chairman and CEO Harris Diamond said in a statement. “A variety of actions across our agencies are being implemented that include salary cuts, freezes on hiring and temporary labor, major cuts on non-essential spending, and furloughs in markets where that option is available. Unfortunately, reductions in staffing levels are also taking place in certain areas of the business.”
“These are difficult decisions made in difficult times,” he added. “Our goal is to service our clients while protecting as many jobs as we can, and we will of course provide as much support as possible.”
Crispin, Porter, Bogusky
Crispin, Porter, Bogusky, has also just finished a round of furloughs this week, as well as what the MDC Partner agency characterized as a small number of layoffs. It is unclear how many employees were impacted.
“Like everyone across the industry, we’ve been affected by the global pandemic. We have made the difficult yet unavoidable decision to furlough a portion of our staff, and layoff a small group. We’ve done everything possible to furlough instead of letting go of staff so that we can bring people back when circumstances improve,” CPB global CEO Erik Sollenberg said in a statement. “This is a necessary step so that we may continue to offer our clients the best service while planning for the future. Our people are our most valuable asset and we feel for them as well as everyone affected by this situation around the world.”
CPB co-founder Alex Bogusky left CPB in January, after rejoining the agency a year and a half ago.
Dentsu Aegis Network
At the beginning of last week, Dentsu Aegis Network agencies, which includes our friends at mcgarrybowen, has also gone through furloughs, salary reductions and layoffs.
According to AgencySpy, the furloughs will last two to eight months, generally at around 20% pay and salary reductions of 10% were implemented at the start of April through the end of the year for all those making $75,000 or above.
Those making under that amount are not impacted and executive leadership took pay cuts. Bonuses and 401k matches have been eliminated for the remainder of the year and that DAN has also instituted a freeze on new hires and promotions, as well as eliminated consultant and freelance roles.
Earlier this month that Dentsu Aegis Network hired Wendy Clark from DDB as global CEO, effective this September.
Wasserman has confirmed to AgencySpy that around 3% of its staff—impacting Laundry Service across its offices in New York, Portland, Los Angeles and London—were laid off, and 5% have been furloughed.
The moves also affect the broader Wasserman enterprise in sports and entertainment. Across the whole of Wasserman, there are 1,000 employees around the world.
Additionally, a spokesperson confirmed that Casey Wasserman, chair and CEO of Wasserman, has forfeited his salary. In further cost-cutting moves, Wasserman senior leadership eliminated bonuses and is deferring compensation. It is understood that the deferrals will last until at least the end of the year and possibly into 2021.