MullenLowe lays off 10 percent of staff
Interpublic Group of Cos.' MullenLowe has cut 10 percent of its U.S. staff due to financial difficulties related to the coronavirus pandemic, Ad Age has learned.
MullenLowe declined to comment.
People close to the business say the layoffs were conducted across all of MullenLowe's domestic offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Those people say senior executives have also taken a pay cut and the agency has frozen new hires and raises. Laid off employees will receive three months' extended healthcare, according to people familiar with the matter.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused events to be canceled, marketers to put advertising efforts on pause and clients to delay payments to agencies—causing obvious negative financial impacts on shops. One of MullenLowe's biggest clients is JetBlue, which has faced serious setbacks due to the pandemic, forcing the airline to suspend flights.
MullenLowe parent IPG, meanwhile, withdrew its previously issued financial outlook for 2020 last month due to the uncertainties around the pandemic and how it will impact business. IPG CEO-Chairman Michael Roth said in a statement at the time that the company's focus would be "on protecting the health and safety of our employees around the world, serving our clients and supporting our communities."
The layoffs at MullenLowe follow staff cuts at shops Giant Spoon and MDC Partners' Anomaly.
Giant Spoon laid off 20 percent of its staff last month, blaming the negative impact event cancellations have had on its experiential business. A week before Giant Spoon initiated its cuts, Anomaly laid off 22 employees and said 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."
Contributing: Judann Pollack