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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

DDB/Chicago: An insider's take

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The ad world isn't an easy-- or often very happy -- environment to work in these days. Witness the following observations we received in a letter from an insider at DDB/Chicago:

"I am a current DDB/Chicago employee who has been troubled by recent events. In particular, the recent layoffs on Feb. 6, 2009. On that date, an entire creative group (who worked on Wrigley) was let go along with a member of the Studio (probably their best employee), as well as employees who had been with the company for over 20 years. Although I am grateful to still have my job, it troubles me that these individuals were let go while the head of the Omnicom Group awarded himself a $25 million bonus. If he and the other top managers could see who they let go, they might have reconsidered. Forgoing the $25 million bonus would have definitely saved their jobs and many, many more. There is no more loyalty for good, hard, honest work. The individuals that were laid off have worked hard, while others have not even done their job. Every time this is spoken of with the intention of changing things, it falls on deaf ears."

Of course, scenarios not unlike what this DDB insider has observed are playing out at other agencies too. And none of what is happening is going to make for a very pleasant work situation at many ad agencies in the months ahead. As long as the bottom line is what truly matters at the publicly-traded ad agency holding companies such as Omnicom, then it is the holding company managers who make sure the numbers are made that will get the big bonuses, while peons are brought in and kicked out at will to make sure the top honchos get what they believe are their just rewards.

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Should anyone question the need for heath care reform they need only refer to the Christmas present given to retirees of the New York- based media conglomerate, Omnicom. The gift came along with the statement of their contributions to last year’s coverage-a whopping $877.00– for a policy that costs their retirees well over $6,000 a year. This year they showed they cared by announcing that the policy coverage will end December 31, 2010.

Had retirees not believed Omnicom’s promise of health insurance coverage until age 65, many would have bought personal policies when they were ten 10 or 15 years younger. Now they are faced with buying coverage to make it to Medicare–ten or more years away, at an age when insurance is much more difficult and costly to get.

They didn’t leave their older, ex-employees empty handed though; they provided them with the e-mail address of an online insurance company.

Can’t image a crueler more heartless action for Omnicom to spring on their retirees.
Let’s go to their next annual report and see what kind of bonuses they gave themselves for this act of humanity.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on February 24, 2009 3:08 PM.

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