EDITORIAL: Job losses can’t be blamed on the global recession

’Do you actually know anyone who’s lost their job?’ asked someone recently during a conversation about whether we’re marketing our way into recession. Well the answer is yes, we at Marketing do know some of the people who have lost their jobs at CIA Medianetwork and Saatchi & Saatchi, which both announced staff cuts this week.

’Do you actually know anyone who’s lost their job?’ asked someone

recently during a conversation about whether we’re marketing our way

into recession. Well the answer is yes, we at Marketing do know some of

the people who have lost their jobs at CIA Medianetwork and Saatchi &

Saatchi, which both announced staff cuts this week.



Twenty jobs have gone at Saatchis and around 26 at CIA. Many of those

axed were regarded as bright, hard-working, and assets to the agencies.

But CIA Medianetwork has lost serious billings in the past few months as

clients such as Lloyds TSB and Somerfield have gone.



Similarly, Saatchis lost Camelot, with an annual pounds 20m spend, and

last week suffered as Procter & Gamble centralised its pounds 150m

television buying into Leo Burnett.



So do these job losses have anything to do with the threat of

recession?



The honest answer appears to be no, not much at all. Both agencies are

making what they consider to be a necessary, if undesirable, response to

their own client situations. These lost accounts have gone to new

agencies, where hopefully they will generate new jobs. Marketers, like

everyone else in the business, should avoid confusing the fortunes of

individual companies with any general economic trends.



That was also the message from one of the world’s biggest marketing

services companies, WPP. Its indomitable chief executive, Martin

Sorrell, told analysts that third-quarter revenues were up 11% at pounds

471m.



Sorrell’s WPP had been hit by a shares slump once, back in the early

90s, and like other companies in the marketing and media sector has seen

stocks fall again in recent months.



But his message was that the news for the industry is not all grim:

’Lower inflation means less pricing power and so clients are more

concerned about differentiating their brands through marketing, which is

good for us.’



This is not to underestimate the economic problems we are now

facing.



Business confidence is down, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

this week also reported that the housing market was being hit by

consumer pessimism about the economy and job prospects. But we can all

draw lessons from Sorrell and WPP. After the last recession Sorrell held

his nerve, he focused on his business and convinced his creditors that

the marketing services business was worth investing in.



We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend global economic

problems won’t impact on the UK, but we should not accept a recession as

inevitable, or confuse the problems of individual companies with a wider

trend for those in marketing services.



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