WPP foresees job cuts as it shifts its strategy: Tuesday Wake-Up Call

The company predicts a net reduction of 2,500 jobs over three years

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WPP CEO Mark Read
WPP CEO Mark Read Credit: WPP

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What people are talking about today
WPP is embarking on what it calls a three-year plan of "radical evolution" to turn around its performance. The ad giant also confirmed reports of a net reduction of 2,500 jobs over three years; that's about 1.9 percent of its global workforce of around 134,000 people.
WPP put out a release about its new strategy ahead of a WPP investors' conference in London on Tuesday; here are a few details:
*The company plans to spend $377 million on restructuring costs over three years.
*WPP wants to become what it calls a "creative transformation company." What does that mean? Apparently, it's about "bringing together creativity and expertise in technology and data with the purpose of building better futures for its people and clients."
*Under new CEO Mark Read, the company will cover the areas of communications, experience, commerce and technology. It's also putting a focus on creativity. And it will invest in creative leadership, "with a particular focus on the United States."
WPP has been squeezed by clients cutting back on spending and, in October, it lost some of its longstanding business with Ford Motor Co. Some extra context here via Bloomberg News: "WPP shares are down 40 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent decline for Publicis Groupe and a 4.1 percent gain for Omnicom Group. WPP, long the world's largest advertising group by revenue and value, now has a smaller market capitalization than both Omnicom and Publicis, based on Monday's trading."

Location, location, location
The "Fearless Girl" statue was moved a few blocks Monday to a permanent location in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The relocation was international news, getting coverage from NBC to Reuters to The New York Times. When was the last time a marketing campaign had this much staying power? "Fearless Girl" debuted in March 2017 as a message from State Street Global Advisors and McCann New York to encourage companies to add more women to their boards. But the statue of a defiant-looking girl by artist Kristen Visbal was embraced as a general symbol of female empowerment and became such a draw for tourists that it had to be moved to a location that could better accommodate the crowds.
With the move, State Street is getting a new blast of positive PR, with opportunities to speak about the impact the statue had on companies. (State Street says more than 300 companies have added a female director since she was unveiled, CNBC reports.)
Flashback: Remember the controversy when State Street's parent company agreed to pay millions to settle allegations it paid many female and black executives less than their male and white counterparts? That went unmentioned in many articles about the statue's move.

'They suck'
Ad Age's Garett Sloane talked to a popular Snapchat influencer who apparently has a love-hate relationship with the app. Here's what he says about how Snapchat treats creators who make content for the platform: "They suck." In fact, says Shaun McBride, aka Shonduras, "they always sucked. They've never been nice to us. They literally sucked from day one." As Sloane writes, "Some of [Snapchat's] biggest stars complain the company has not lived up to promises to help their community thrive." It's another worry for Snapchat, which has also faced declining user numbers and the departure of some prominent execs.
What Snapchat says: "We're working hard to support our creators and create monetization opportunities."

A new fuss over Google+
This is inconvenient timing: Google had some very bad news to release as CEO Sundar Pichai prepares to testify on Capitol Hill today about topics like user data privacy. The Verge reports:

"Google+ has suffered another data leak, and Google has decided to shut down the consumer version of the social network four months earlier than it originally planned. Google+ will now close to consumers in April, rather than August."

The vulnerability impacted 52.5 million users. Things could get interesting today.
Why this matters: "Google has been relatively unscathed by the Big Tech scandals of 2018," CNN's Reliable Sources newsletter says. "But that could change at any time. And it might on Tuesday."

Just briefly:
Super Bowl update:
Pringles is the latest brand to announce that it will air an ad in the 2019 game, Ad Age's Jessica Wohl reports. WPP's Grey, which did Pringles' Super Bowl ad this year, returns for 2019.

For the win: "Through Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season, the league's broadcast partners are on pace to win back a good chunk of the ratings declines they'd endured over the past two years," Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes. A scoring frenzy has helped with that.

Promotions: Kate MacNevin is the new global CEO of MRM/McCann, promoted from global president and chief operating officer, Ad Age's Megan Graham reports. And Clorox Co. is getting a new chief marketing officer, Stacey Grier, who joined the company two years ago, Jack Neff writes.

Buyouts: Verizon says that "10,400 employees, or about 6.8 percent of its total staff, were accepted for voluntary buyouts as the company looks to trim $10 billion from costs and retool for 5G wireless technology," Bloomberg News writes.

Scams: Amazon is "fighting a barrage of seller scams on its website, including firing several employees suspected of having helped supply independent merchants with inside information," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Brand of the day: Fjallraven. "The Sweden-based, hard-to-pronounce brand is trying to make a bigger name for itself with its largest-ever U.S. marketing push," Adrianne Pasquarelli reports. (For the record, it's pronounced "fee-yall-raven" and it sells outdoor equipment.)

Ad of the day: What does Santa want for Christmas? According to an Audi ad, he wants a new Audi. An Audi RS 5 Sportback coupe, to be precise. The ad shows Santa having "a bit of a mid-life crisis after realizing that he can't fit into a sports car at his current weight," E.J. Schultz writes in Ad Age. So he goes on a diet and starts working out. The ad is by M/H VCCP; check it out here.

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