This has been an extraordinary twelve months to be an agency. It seemed that with the stock market crashes in September last year, big marketers were some of the first to react. GM’s bankruptcy left a lot of holding companies with bad debts. Unilever publicly announced they were reducing their global agency baseline profit to 5%. P&G changed their model (again) from a sales percentage to a new lead agency structure. And Coca-Cola launched a new “Value Based” model for their agencies.


The world’s four biggest marketers – with four massive changes.

In Asia, it was every market for itself. China still continued to grow, albeit more slowly – and with the locals outperforming foreign brands in a lot of categories.

In a semantics battle, an Indian marketing publication got in trouble for talking about the “downturn” (India is only going through a “slowdown”…but still suffering). Singapore and Hong Kong are hemorrhaging – and only now are things starting to turn around. Almost every agency made cutbacks (mostly privately). M&C Saatchi closed a few countries.

If history is a guide, the challenge may not be the fact this is a temporary setback, but rather if this is the new business as usual. No return flights home yet. It might be time to think through a new destination.

So what’s an Agency to do this year?

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How Agencies Must Evolve for Client Needs