For the J. Walter Thompson agency, 2009 was about as rough as it can get — as was the case for most of the ad shops you can name without thinking. But when word broke that JWT Chicago, an agency that shares a lobby with Ogilvy Chicago, was set to close — the industry collectively gasped. Maybe that’s why Bob Jeffrey, chairman and CEO of JWT Worldwide, called 2009 “the worst year in advertising,” in the video below.
And it was, for us anyway, as the word “layoff” became synonymous with “AgencySpy” — we’ve reported at least 100 layoff stories (though with much less frequency lately). We’re looking forward to officially retiring the @AdAgencyLayoffs feed, but that’s not going to be for awhile.
As we bear down on the new year it’s important to remember these things. That’s why this week we’ll be bringing you listicles with links to the bigger news of the year. Maybe from the ashes we’ll figure out what 2010’s Phoenix will be. Our best guess: diversified revenue streams. Lame, yes. But if one thing is for sure, it’s advertising’s inability to support itself when the rest of the world craps their pants, bringing to mind a phrase coined by the Jewish Defense League: “never again.”