Sadly, Ad Industry Still Gloating Over Carat layoff Email
Anyone who thinks the wording of the erroneously sent Carat documents about impending layoffs was, in any way, different from other agencies' documents on the same topic is an idiot. It's always about saving face. It's always about making the agency look good in front of the client. It's all about positioning to protect the business. There isn't an agency out there that hasn't thought of or written the same thing Carat did in those documents.
But here's the thing. The words in any agencies' documents are almost always set aside when two human beings - the one doing the firing an the firee - sit down face to face in the same room to address the dirty reality of layoffs. They are inevitable and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
In light of that inevitably, an agency must go on. It must retain its clients. It must retain its remaining employees. And, yes, it must "position" itself to insure those things. Otherwise, the entire endeavor is pointless. Without clients, there is no agency. Without employees, there is no agency.
It's a double edged sword for sure. When you get right down to it, most people who work in agencies are perfectly nice people. But when faced with business difficulties, they are sometimes sucked into the machine and are, in some ways, forced to act as if they are an unfeeling cog. Some of this is natural self-preservation. Some of it is helplessness in the face issues out of one's control.
Having worked at a 250-plus person agency at which all 250 people were laid off within a 6 month period, I can attest to the difficulties and intricacies involved when any agency faces something exponentially worse than what Carat is facing now. Not one person intends to be malicious or unfeeling. Not one person plans to sound like a buffoon when writing a "talking points" memo on agency firings. It just happens. It's part of working in an agency or in any business. Shit happens. You move on.
For Advertising Age and, to a much, much lesser degree, AdWeek, to have sensationalistically trotted out Carat's internal documents is deplorable not to mention outing the poor souls who made the error. Trashing work (as Adrants freely does on a regular basis) is far different than basically throwing an HR person - and an entire agency - under a bus for the industry to gawk at as if it were an accident on the side of a highway.
Layoffs, of course, must be reported as soon as press is tipped to them. That's what press does. Press breaks news and layoffs are news. Sensationalizing an agency's documents is, of course, fun but it's not always the right thing to do. Advertising Age should, of course, reported the news but they could have left the sensationalistic angle out of the story.
As previously stated, anyone who has every worked in an ad agency knows nothing in those Carat documents was news. It's standard agency practice. It's how it's done. It's not perfect but there really isn't a perfect way to fire people. Everything about it sucks. In light of that, it makes perfect sense Carat planned extensively for the fallout as they did with these documents.
For all those laughing at Carat, take a look inside your agency. Are you really any different?