Giant Spoon lays off 20 percent of staff
Independent agency Giant Spoon has laid off 20 percent of its staff due to the coronavirus pandemic's negative impact on its experiential business.
The agency behind some of the biggest SXSW activations in recent years including "Bleed For the Throne" in 2019 and "SXSWestworld" in 2018 said in a statement that "the COVID19 pandemic has done serious damage to our experiential business," forcing the layoffs.
“We are deeply saddened to have made the decision to reduce our full-time headcount," an agency spokesperson said in a statement. "Our priority is on those we're parting with as we adjust our business in real time, our existing clients and teams. The bottom line is the direct and widespread impact caused by the COVID19 pandemic has done serious damage to our experiential business, which now consists of a core team including leadership, who are working to help clients find digital paths forward. There are no words to soften the pain inflicted on the people most directly affected by this situation."
Giant Spoon said that it has been "forced to halt production on several 2020 experiential projects." All of the employees laid off will receive six months of healthcare coverage, according to the agency.
Most events, industry and otherwise, that were scheduled to take place in the coming months have been canceled or postponed due to the growing health crisis. SXSW, where one person close to the matter said Giant Spoon was once again planning to run an activaiton for HBO (though on a smaller scale than in years past), was forced to cancel its event just one week ahead of its kickoff.
Giant Spoon said it "views this as a temporary setback and expects to rebound as the economy grows following the coronavirus pandemic." In the meantime, it is proceeding with its media, creative and strategy services for clients like GE, MassMutual, OneMedical and HP. The full-service agency now employs 175 people across its offices in New York and Los Angeles.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused not only events to shut down but brand marketers to put their advertising efforts on pause—causing an obvious negative financial impact on agencies. Last week, Anomaly laid off 22 employees while most executives in its New York office took a temporary 10 percent pay cut.
“Anyone who can read, listen or watch the news knows that we are in extraordinary times—as are our clients and the economy,” Anomaly Founding Partner and Executive Chairman Carl Johnson said on the job cuts. “No one is immune from the impact ... It sucks, but being naive or in denial would suck more."