BBDO New York Goes Through a Round of Post-Holiday Layoffs as Lowe’s Abandons AOR Model

By Patrick Coffee Comment

The New York headquarters of BBDO went through a small round of layoffs today, approximately one month after client Lowe’s announced that it would launch a creative review after 12 years with the Omnicom shop.

An agency spokesperson confirmed that BBDO New York “is reducing its staff to be in line with current client budgets and needs,” adding that “reductions are taking place across departments and levels.” While the specific number of employees affected is unclear, the total appears to be in the low two digits.

In December, Lowe’s told Adweek that it will be moving toward a model “where we can collaborate with a roster of creative agencies,” meaning an end to BBDO’s agency of record contract. The procurement-based review had reportedly been in the works for about a year, and several parties told us the home improvement chain looks to rely less heavily on TV and print advertising for future campaigns.

That said, the company did invite BBDO to participate in the pitch—and the agency representative confirmed that they are involved.

Other parties have told us that the other finalists have been chosen and that the last rounds of the pitch will happen later this month. We do not have a confirmed list of those agencies at this time (and neither does Fishbowl). Lowe’s has not responded to a request for comment.

Regarding claims that other longtime clients would be reducing their marketing budgets—specifically GE, whose new CEO John Flannery promised to shed more than $20 billion in assets late last year—BBDO clarified that it does not comment on client spending. In December, AdAge also reported that Campbell’s global review might affect its relationship with the agency and Omnicom at large. This move came less than six months after the company moved its Campbell Chunky Soup brand to BBDO after 20 years with Y&R.

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