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Dentsu Group Announces 6,000 International Job Cuts

Early this week, Dentsu Group announced plans to cut 12.5% of its global workforce as part of a larger restructuring plan. 
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Early this week, Dentsu Group announced plans to cut 6,000 international jobs as part of a larger restructuring plan.

Raise your hand if you’re ready for me to start writing about agency jobs coming back rather than this pandemic-induced madness 🙋.

Zoom in

Although it’s tough to justify cutting 6,000 jobs—12.5% of Dentsu’s global workforce—during the perfect storm of the holiday season and Covid-19, here’s how the agency network explained its decision:

Redundancy: The pandemic accelerated what some say is a long-needed restructuring plan.

  • “I have never seen so much redundancy of jobs as I did at Dentsu. Everything is recreated at a regional level as well as at headquarters,” an anonymous former Dentsu exec told Ad Age.

Consolidation: Dentsu’s solution to that “redundancy of jobs” = consolidating 160 global agency brands to just six global leadership entities.

  • Example: Dentsu Mcgarrybowen—the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious network created out of Mcgarrybowen’s repositioning in May.
  • “That strategy saw the creation of three lines of businesses last year: creative, customer relationship management and media. Within creative is now Dentsu Mcgarrybowen and Isobar; within CRM is Merkle and 360i; and within media is Carat and iProspect,” per Ad Age.
  • It feels important to note that consolidating Dentsu into “One Dentsu” mirrors Publicis Groupe's "Power of One" model.

Accelerating transformation: That’s what Dentsu says its goal is here, per Adweek. If you’ve been a Marketing Brew reader for a while, or have worked on Madison Avenue for even a split second, it’s obvious that the pandemic hit the gas on changes agency life already had coming for it, from consolidation to culture.

Zoom out

Marketing Brew’s explanation: Dentsu didn't specifically cite in-housing as a reason for the restructuring, but the trend has been putting more and more pressure on agencies. For instance…

  • Nearly three-quarters of internal creative teams were created over the past five years, and 82% of that group reported that workloads have increased in the past year, per World Federation of Advertisers data cited by Marketing Dive.
  • And in a recent Marketing Brew survey of 397 readers who work in marketing, respondents cited “in-housing’s acceleration” as the No. 5 most overlooked marketing trend of 2020.
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