The May 11, 2020 issue of Ad Age is available now, below.
Agency jobs in the crosshairs
2019 was the weakest year for agency growth since the Great Recession. And now the bad news: 2020. Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the economy—and agencies—into a deep downturn. History suggests agency employment won’t hit bottom until months or even years after a recession ends. Our exclusive Ad Age Agency Report 2020, which ranks agencies based on results from 2019, serves as the before—before COVID and recession—and hints at how bad the after will be.
TV’s big pivot
The pandemic has upended the TV upfronts marketplace. At stake is the $20 billion in commitments that are typically accounted for during upfronts beginning in May. While negotiations are expected to take place in some shape and form, what’s become increasingly clear is the starting gun won’t go off after Memorial Day and wrap by mid-July. Still, as marketers reevaluate their media needs and alter business strategies, what has been a slow plod in the adoption of new measurement metrics, audience targeting capabilities and ad formats could accelerate.
How brands are staying ‘Influential’ during the pandemic
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, there was talk of a looming “social recession” in which marketers and consumers would get sick of the influencer marketing that’s been one of the industry’s hottest growth markets. That time may have come, thanks largely to the pandemic, which has produced an economic recession and made much of what influencers once did look tone-deaf now. But while many marketers have put influencer campaigns on hold, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, e.l.f. and Mount Gay are among those sticking with it and adapting.