Agency The Many Cuts 18% of Staff, Calling It a ‘Pivot’ to Coronavirus Crisis Consulting

By Doug Zanger 

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic will likely have a significant impact on the agency community, and decisions will have to be made. In the case of The Many in Los Angeles, it is “proactively reorganizing and preparing for the forecasted coronavirus-related effects by reducing staff to what it’s calling its ‘core team of fighters.’”

To translate, this means layoffs. In the case of The Many, it means that 15 people were let go. Additionally, there is a company-wide reduction of pay, including the agency’s six owners.

The agency is also now offering a “new service as creative crisis consultants.”


“We believe that we are way ahead of the curve in recognizing the impact that this global crisis will have on our industry and acting on it,” said Christian Jacobsen, one of The Many’s partners and in charge of strategy. “We have been closely analyzing this situation on a macro-economic level for the past two weeks and have realized that we need to embrace a very strong position with a lot of flexibility so that we can continue to lead our clients and this industry forward.”

The aforementioned “core team of fighters” has, according to the agency: “delivered six brand new campaign ideas in the last five days across a variety of clients and verticals, three of which are already underway for Chameleon Cold-Brew, eHarmony and Oxigen Water.”

“This agency was born during the last financial crisis (in 2009), and we know it’s critical that we preserve our ability to thrive, which requires taking dramatic action and quickly adapting our offering to suit the current climate,” said Amir Haque, partner at The Many, who is looking after growth.

Another tool in the box, according to Damien Eley, partner and ecd, is optimism.

“One of our values is that ‘optimism wins,’” he said. “And while we can’t operate with optimism as a business strategy, we can use our optimistic outlook toward an all-hands approach to creative problem-solving.”

Putting it into the bluntest of terms, however, Jens Stoelken, agency partner in finance and operations, said, “Having a strong cash position is the only way we can keep moving forward, or six months from now, we could potentially not have a place for any employees to return.”

According to the agency, the layoffs and pay reductions are temporary and reversible “should its predictions be off.” Let’s hope for the sake of everyone, that The Many are wrong on this one.