Ad Agencies: We Think A Recession's Coming

Now that even economists have declared that yes, there’s a recession, ad agencies have had a revelation: When the economy goes south, ad spending goes with it. Now they’re prepping — cautiously — for hard times.

Nothing like layoffs, mind you. But Madison Avenue types may want to stop trying to expense those Johnny Walker Blue binges. WSJ:

Last week, one media-buying chief cut his agency’s travel-and-entertainment budget by 5%. JWT, the mammoth advertising firm owned by WPP Group, is considering reducing the number of people it sends to the industry’s annual award show in Cannes, France, in June.

Interpublic Group‘s DraftFCB says it is keeping “tight controls” on salaries during the first six months of this year. Rather than cut staff, Publicis Worldwide, an ad firm owned by Publicis Groupe, is choosing not to replace people as fast. As a result, the firm’s head count will be slightly lower by the end of March than it was in January, says Richard Pinder, chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide.

“We are seeing good growth in many regions and hearing caution in the U.S.,” says Mr. Pinder. “But it would be foolish to believe it’s all smooth. We only have to read the newspaper.”

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