Ogilvy to Layoff

Don’t get me started on the problems media buyers have to face for being in major middle-person type companies.

One of the many major internal problems have to do with the competitive nature of the isolated department structure within the companies and the desire for each department to grow and compete against the others.

For example, imagine the representative from a major car company who is used to spending millions of dollars on TV ad campaigns comes into the office and says “Im really feeling the buzz online and want to do something big on the internets! Instead of spending all of my budget this year on just a TV campaign, I want to go 80/20 with TV and Online.

The problem is, Car Man is dealing with the TV department, not the Internet department and the TV department doesn’t want to give up a major 20% share and needs to eat too. If Car Man takes his campaign online and the TV Agent has to send the guy to another floor in the building, even if at the same company, at what point will the TV agent self destruct from loss of a department?

Apparently today that day may have begun at Ogilvy.

This Adage article suggests a probable layoff of 50 to 100 people  for Ogilvy’s NYC office:

"According to one executive close to the matter, the cuts are necessary ‘primarily because the nature of the business is changing.’ The layoffs are in part a reflection that the agency – whose clients include American Express, America’s Second Harvest and IBM – has seen declining compensation from traditional ad dollars in light of clients’ increased focus on digital, the executive said.”

While yes, “the nature of the business is changing”, it should be possible for this kind of company to communicate internally and evolve the people along with the change in industry. Instead, people may just be getting cut off like dead branches that didn’t make it. It’s possible this entire field could eventually go the way of the stump.

Over the last couple of years, I have seen this departmental conflict happen personally with several media buying companies. The Internet Agent who is trying to pitch big plans online involving Rocketboom is often the brunt of an up-and-coming department that is essentially powerless for it’s nascent state.  

Now is a better time than never to refresh and renew what will.