Memorial Day Weekend 2012 commemorates special fallen service people—namely, the Draftfcb employees axed in response to the MillerCoors account shifts announced earlier this month. Razorfish might have also trimmed workers, as the beer maker fired the digital shop too.
The trade press has been oddly quiet about the scenario, perhaps deciding to stop publishing news on advertising bloodbaths. Agency Spy reported up to 40 people were cut, while AdScam declared at least 200 staffers were dumped. The AdScam numbers are probably more accurate. Losing a multi-brand beer account translates to lots of billings and bodies. Plus, Draftfcb is notorious for trickling pink slips, quietly letting employees go in small spurts over an extended period of time.
It’s bad news overall for the Chicago job market. New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi picked up the Miller Lite account, while a Chicago-based coalition of WPP shops will handle Coors. Agencies often avoid hiring former staffers from ex-AORs, so the newly unemployed will face a tough road ahead.
Add the MillerCoors departure to the SC Johnson dismissal of roughly a year ago, and it’s safe to say Draftfcb is reeling. Management shuffles can’t be helping matters or morale. Draftfcb Chairman Howard Draft’s dream of running a small shop may come true sooner than later.
The self-proclaimed Agency of the Future has a fuzzy future, mostly because it ultimately acts like a relic of the past. That is, Draftfcb features all the characteristics of a standard BDA—politics, egos, bureaucracies, silos, outdated processes, lumbering structures, contrived catchphrases and White men. The breakthrough model is a Model T. A New Brand Agency is an old brontosaurus. And accountability apparently does not apply to the powers that be.
Don’t forget that Draftfcb President and CEO Laurence Boschetto promised, “…by 2014 we will be an organization that no longer uses the term ‘diversity and inclusion.’ We are working tirelessly, from the C-suite to the intern ranks, to foster an atmosphere of inclusion, where everyone is empowered to reach great heights.” Um, by 2014 Draftfcb may no longer be an organization—period.