Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Heads of the Five Families

What's right with this picture?

Admittedly, very little.

At least, not if you listen to clients who, according to an article in last week's Adweek, are outraged at the enormous compensation packages of these holding company CEO's. They're even more outraged when those compensation packages are compared to that of the lowest employee on the totem pole.

In the WPP case, the mailroom clerk at Ogilvy would have to work 8,931,758 years to bring home what Martin Sorrell brings home in one. Please note I am using Trumpian Mathematics, which are given to hyperbole and falsity, but that doesn't seem to matter these days.

It's kind of odd that the mainstream press is finally catching on to this.

I, and my fellow bloggers George Tannenbaum and Bob Hoffman, have been harping on this issue for years. In fact, it's one leg of our Well Worn Ad Trope Trifecta: Pay Inequality, Worthless Big Data and the Open Office Plan.

If you are to believe the article, each of these gentlemen brings home about $25 million a year. Let's say he or she...strike that...he (you're welcome Cindy Gallop), works 2500 hours a year. That's a 50 hour "work" week, that includes a good deal of "Executive Time." He or she, ...er, he, is making $10,000 an hour!!!

Let that sink in.

If Marty or Jack or Johnny comes in at 9 and then dashes off to the Tavern on the Green for lunch at noon, he has already raked in $30,000. That's what Media Planner Katy Jenkins is lucky to squeeze out in a year. A year in which she missed her birthday party, cancelled her anniversary dinner, and had to shell out $957 for a new catalytic converter for her aging 2007 Honda Civic.

What's even more galling are the constant memos and emails to the effect of:

"we don't have money for bonuses"

"we don't have money for raises"

"we don't have money for freelancers."

The last one is the most appalling.

As if all that weren't enough, it's no secret the advertising agency industry is currently in a world of hurt. Clients are taking the marketing in-house. The AOR model is dead. And PR firms, entertainment agencies and small production houses are gobbling up assignments.

I'm no business wizard. I like to use the word acumen but the truth is I have none. I'll probably end up in a dirty nursing home, telling orderlies about my glory days in advertising while they steal loose change off my dresser and rummage through my pant pockets for valuables.

But it seems to me the solution is right in front of our faces.

Ad agency chiefs ought to do what ad agency chiefs have been telling clients to do ad infinitum: Disrupt, Invest and harness the power of creativity.

Bringing back the freelancers (at their full day rate) would be a good place to start.


Robert Chandler said...

Uh, pay is based on actual value.

If the guy in the mailroom leaves, what would the effect of that be on the fortunes or the value of WPP.

If Martin Sorrell leaves - and that is no longer an 'if' - we would, and will, see a major effect on the fortunes and the value of WPP.

Robert Chandler
Los Angeles

Rich Siegel said...

I'm quite familiar with all the "value" the C-suiters bring to the table.

Let's just leave it at that.

Théo said...

The best way to pay for freelancers
and boost everyone's pay?
Forgo Cannes.

Free slogan:
No Cannes Do

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between worth and want. No one is worth $25,000,000 every year.