Publicis Groupe’s Team One, the holding company’s agency founded as a dedicated unit for Lexus, went through a round of layoffs earlier this month.
An agency spokesperson confirmed that the agency had parted with around 3% of its full-time employees. The agency’s website boasts the office has “500+ people,” which would place the number let go at 15 or above. Team One’s LinkedIn page claims it employs 201-500, putting the lower end of an estimate in single digits.
“On occasion, we make adjustments to our staffing mix based on agency business requirements as well as the business requirements of all our clients,” Team One CEO Julie Michael said in a statement. “Our business relationship with Lexus remains healthy and productive.”
A source close to the matter characterized the staffing adjustments as related to the changing scope and nature of the agency’s client relationships, as the agency evolves to focus more on data, personalization and technology to meet clients’ changing demands. The source characterized the changes as a shift by the agency into investing more in data sciences, tech and studio resources, leading to reductions in other areas.
Team One expanded its data team with the arrivals of Emily Sanford as management director, digital, CRM and data application and Dr. Bharath Gangula as executive director, data science and advanced analytics back in June.
Around a year ago, Team One reportedly went through a round of downsizing as Lexus sales dropped. Lexus reported a sales decrease of 5.4% for this July, compared to the same period in 2018 but it’s unclear if this had any impact on its approach to advertising and marketing. Back in March, Team One hired TBWA\Chiat\Day creative director Kirsten Rutherford as executive creative director for the Expedia account.