Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Resiliency. Orwell Modernized.

Yes, we have lost a skein of accounts lately. Culminating in the loss of an account we've had for 71 years. 

But we are resilient.

Sure, we haven't had any significant wins--or even come close to a significant win- since we fired just about every senior creative person three years ago.

But we are resilient.

I know we're trying to put a positive spin on things by announcing the wins of Acme Safety Match company and the rebrand of Billy Bob's Mason-Jar Moonshine and Furniture Lacquer Company, even though the revenue of those two accounts in total couldn't pay for the hair on a moldy Whopper.

But we are resilient.

I get it, we're not making short-lists. The market has dubbed us a dinosaur stock and the consultants we hired to help lead our digital transformation (though we ourselves have a consultancy) have just been fined $573 million for their leading role in causing thousands of deaths during America's opioid crisis.

But we are resilient.

Yes, you're right. Most of the agencies in our network don't even know their names anymore or even if they'll have a new name next week or month. 

But we are resilient. 

Of course, we're taking $4.3 billion in impairment charges due to a failed acquisition from over 20 years ago.

But we are resilient.

Yes, our headcount is down 7% from a year ago.

Yes, we went from a £1.21 billion profit in 2019 to a pre-tax loss of £2.79 billion in 2020.

And our fourth quarter organic revenue was down 6.4% in the U.S., 7.4% in the U.K., 0.8% in Germany, 8.9% in India and 12.1% in Greater China.


No, our CEO doesn't own a decent tie and our entire holding company is virulently ageist with fewer than one out of one-hundred employees over 60.


(Inspired by today: The Ides of March. And Marc Anthony's speech from William Shakespeare--one who harkens back.)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.


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