Crispin to Cut 60 Staffers

MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky today joined the industry layoff parade and said it would cut 60 staffers — slightly less than 7 percent of its total workforce of 900-plus people — in what the agency described as a response to the increasingly rough economy.

Crispin, with offices in Miami and Boulder, Colo., issued this brief statement Thursday afternoon:

“In response to the current economic climate, advertising budgets are being reduced in virtually every industry. On a comparative basis, CP+B’s business is doing well but we are not immune to the constriction of the economy. Our two main responsibilities are to our clients and to our employees. And in order to most prudently manage our business, we have taken the difficult step of reducing our staff by 60 of our 900+ employees. We do not anticipate any further staff reductions. These are extraordinary times and we hope that we will not have to do this again.”

The agency would not elaborate.

While industry layoffs have become almost a daily occurrence, Crispin’s move was unexpected and disturbing because the agency has been such a consistently strong player.

Last month, Crispin was named Adweek’s U.S. Agency of the Year for 2008.

It has in recent months crafted buzz-building and frequently controversial work for clients such as Burger King (“Whopper Virgins” and “Whopper Sacrifice”), Domino’s Pizza (its sandwich war with Subway) and Microsoft (the Jerry Seinfeld-Bill Gates ads and “I’m a PC” campaign).

Among other recent layoffs at major agency players:

— Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett cut 75 people, about 4 percent of its staff, last week. Rich Stoddart, president of Leo Burnett USA, said 2009 revenue projections could not sustain previous staffing levels. (In ’07, Burnett picked up Buick, GMC and Pontiac — brands owned by General Motors, which has asked for a government bailout in order to survive.)

— WPP’s Ogilvy Group in January began cutting approximately 10 percent of its workforce. The move affected the North American offices of Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyOne and Ogilvy Interactive, according to sources. Some sources estimated the number of layoffs at 300, but others said it was about half that, or roughly 10 percent of the total headcount at those offices, which now stands at roughly 1,500.

— McCann Erickson’s flagship office in New York in December and January let go about 30 staffers. With over 1,000 employees, that amounted to approximately 3 percent of the IPG unit’s workforce.

Numerous others have also cut back or not filled open positions since the economy began to  go downhill last fall.