WPP’s 60% Rule Staggeringly Obvious: How ’bout Some Exec. Level Redistribution?

By Matt Van Hoven 

In advertising, people are always the highest cost because, frankly, there isn’t much else to shed. Sell a few Macs, cut out early on the odd 10-year lease, drop 4th qtr. bonuses &#151 none of it adds up to the high costs of paying people. That’s why The Observer’s report that WPP will cut jobs wherever people account for more than 60 percent of internal costs is no surprise.

And, although the concrete beneath this story hasn’t fully set, it’s not hard to imagine why WPP is making these kinds of reductions. You cogs cost a lot to keep turning, what with your health insurance(s) and your Monday morning bagels, so naturally you’ve gotta go.

OK let’s be fair for a second, we proletariat are pricey pieces. But what about those high level executives who take in…you know…75 times as much as the rest of us? Can’t we just divide their salaries by 2 and redistribute? It’s the age old story: the community sacrifices one child each year to keep the gods happy &#151 except in this case the child is a highly paid advertising executive who could probably afford to cut back on the Manolos.

Yeah, it would throw a wrench in “those” folks’ machinery. Sundays at the club would turn into just Sundays, and Friday nights won’t be the same without that second bottle of Veuve &#151 but maybe those kids at the top will sleep better knowing their sacrifice means Bill Account Coordinator can keep sending his kid to school (perk: with shoes on). Ahh, idealism.

Yes yes, exaggeration, and we know this kind of thing will never happen. Contracts and capitalism prevent redistribution of this type (and who knows, maybe it is happening somewhere out there…so please, tell us), but it’s a notion that will surely stick in the minds of those addies who vacate their offices and drive slowly home in their half-paid off cars and wonder, “what now?”

We wonder the same, even as we type this post. So share your thoughts, woes, concerns, joys, below.

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