Sunday, August 18, 2013


For the last three or four decades we have been living in the era of "globalization."

This is when big corporations come in, find the cheapest resources from around the world (including human resources) and use them to maximize profit while selling a product around the world.

It wasn't that long ago when there were local bookstores, hardware stores and grocery stores. Now they've all been replaced by globalized behemoths. Along with the process of annihilating local stores, they annihilate local economies. A globalized giant like Walmart sends 90-cents of every dollar it makes back to Bentonville, AR, leaving the local community with a handful of no-benefit, minimum wage jobs.

In short, money is also globalized. And the globalized giants have it. You need only see empty Main Streets all across America to see the effects of globalization.

Other effects might be more obvious. Big box hardware stores where sales "help" don't know what a hammer is for. Big box book stores where the staff can't read. Fast food restaurants where edible poison is sold and nutrition is a chimera.

This is our world today.

And it is happening in our industry too.

Now three holding companies control roughly three-quarters of ad jobs in the US. The drive to replace highly paid workers in New York, LA and SF with low-wage workers in China or Bangalore will accelerate.

At first, of course, cost savings might be passed on to clients. These savings will drive the last remaining competition out of business.

Then service will be reduced even further and costs will reverse themselves and go higher.

This is what happens when you're globalized.

And it's happening to us.

Here's a list of the top 25 agencies of 1992--about midway through globalization. I've crossed out the ones merged out of existence. All of the agencies on the list are now owned by one of the big three or one or another aspirants to the big three.

Agency Domestic 1992 Billings Change
1 Foote, Cone & Belding 2,288,469 +5.7%
2 Leo Burnett Co. 2,104,073 +3.1%
3 J. Walter Thompson 1,944,000(*) +10.9%
4 D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles 1,929,000(*) -1.7%
5 DDB Needham 1,910,721 -5.2%
6 Young & Rubicam 1,842,000(*) -0.6%
7 Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising 1,750,000(*) -0.7%
8 Grey Advertising 1,719,000 +5.9%
9 BBDO 1,634,768(*) +6.8%
10 McCann-Erickson 1,567,800(*) +12.0%
11 Ogilvy & Mather 1,545,000 +0.8%
12 CME KHBB 1,008,542 +3.4%
13 Backer Spielvogel Bates 976,029 -10.0%
14 Lintas:USA 920,000(*) +0.9%
15 Wells Rich Green BDDP 919,900 -0.4%

16 Ayer 855,300 +13.4%
17 Bozell 850,000 +9.1%

18 Chiat/Day 620,000(*) +9.2%
19 Ketchum 612,400(*) +1.3%
20 MVBMS/Euro RSCG 500,635 +23.4%
21 Earle Palmer Brown 408,840 -2.1%
22 Temerlin McClain 405,000(*) +15.7%
23 Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor 370,000 +5.7%
24 Tatham Euro RSCG 349,563 +7.7%
25 Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos 338,049 -5.4%

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