As reports circulate that a recession could be on the horizon “a lot sooner than anyone thought,” Keith Johnston, Forrester vice president and research director, global CMO practice leader, and a former executive at agencies, including T3 and MullenLowe, says brands are going to use this economic downturn as “an opportunity to acquire talent.”
“Certainly higher-salary, high-risk employees will look for safe havens and in-house is an option,” Johnston tells Ad Age, adding that as agencies “shake the waste if you will,” brands that “want a chief creative in-house” will try to recruit them at a lower salary than they could in a booming economy. “A lot of the tech titans go hunting realizing they can grab some folks,” he says.
Johnston predicts agencies could lose 3 to 30 percent of their revenues during a recession as brands will shift increasingly more to project work. Those that he estimates will weather the storm best are shops that are “nimble” and have already restructured their infrastructures to adapt to a project-based model, as well as those that have already “invested in their technology.”
“The needs of the clients shift drastically in a recession,” Johnston explains. “There’s already a call for more efficient, measurable media. There’s going to be a greater squeeze on that.”
Christie Cordes, an industry recruiter and founder of Talent Acquisition Recruitment & Strategy, tells Ad Age “most advertising creatives and executives say to us that client-side is something they are very interested in considering.”
“They feel the agencies are unstable, especially now that the holding companies are consolidating,” Cordes says. “The talent pool in 2019 is repeatedly expressing that agency work is avalanching onto them and their teams; more work is expected in less time for smaller client budgets. The recession fears are only exasperating the insecurity.”
One creative director, who tells Ad Age he’s been at a boutique agency for over a decade, is considering going in-house with his sights set on Netflix, Apple, Facebook and MedMen, among others. “Things are looking pretty dang hairy for the future,” he explains. “Feel like there’s going to be bloodbaths on the agency side of things soon.”
There is such a thing as a stupid question!
VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk’s “empathetic and kind” leadership qualities he boasts of apparently do not extend past the four walls of his agency. This week, a hopeful intern texted Vaynerchuk (who’s tweeted out his number so anyone in the industry can pick his brain), in the hopes of working with him for the summer, but in doing so, drew the ire of the internet personality and agency owner, who was then quick to publicly shame him for it.
Here’s what went down.
Nick Anderson (Gary Vee also kindly makes the person’s name public) texts Vaynerchuk, “Can I intern for you?” It appears this was not the first text exchange with Vaynerchuk, and the CEO was affable at first, responding with “When ? Email Drock” (referencing Video Editor David Rock, duh!). Anderson texts back “Next summer” and then “What’s his email?” That last text will likely haunt Anderson for the rest of his days. It doesn’t appear that Vaynerchuk responds, at least initially, but instead screen shots the conversation (name included) and tweets it out with the caption: “If you want to intern for me and can’t figure this out on your own, :(“.