Did Rapp Ask For Mercedes to Fire Them?

By Matt Van Hoven 

Word on the street is that Rapp today began layoffs in the departments of the New York office that had been handling Mercedes Benz direct marketing. We’re told most of that business has been transitioned to Razorfish in one way or another, though Rapp still handles a few maintenance projects.

We’re shy on numbers, and believe that only a few have been let go, but are yet to confirm that with sources. What we do know: the account’s ACD and head account supervisor have been let go, and some other staff were moved to other print work. A staff meeting was set to take place earlier this afternoon to explain the situation.

The back story, as we know it, is that Rapp came to Mercedes and recommended, strongly, that the client maneuver away from direct marketing and focus more on digital marketing. One report indicated that Rapp pitched digital as the new direct, and basically indicated “either switch to digital, or fire us”. A ballsy move that failed. Razorfish didn’t, and the rest is history.

Today the agency is creatively top heavy, and probably Titanic like to maneuver into a digitally-cohesive strategy. With about 14 A/CDs, a handful of mid-level and one junior, creative appears to be on the back-burner as the shop shifts strategy.

Update: Three more have been let go, we hear, including one “redundant” AD.

More:We Hear: RAPP, Mercedes on the Outs?

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