AMV furloughs 15% of staff

Chief executive Sarah Douglas said redundancies will be difficult to avoid.

AMV: staff currently absent from Bankside office
AMV: staff currently absent from Bankside office

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has furloughed 15% of its workforce as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency’s chief executive, Sarah Douglas, told Campaign that the numbers being furloughed were evenly spread across all disciplines and included people of various seniority levels. Douglas said she had aimed to make the process as fair on staff as possible.

Individuals were selected for furlough if their current work capacity was below a certain level. Douglas said the amount of work AMV had from clients was down overall, although some have increased their marketing activity.

According to its most recent Campaign School Report, AMV's staff numbers at the end of 2019 were up 16% to 411 – this would put the number of staff on furlough at about 62.

Additionally, Douglas acknowledged that it was probable the agency would need to make some people redundant – but characterised this as something to be avoided if at all possible. 

Members of AMV’s executive team have taken a pay cut, but this has not yet been extended to other levels. Douglas said she wouldn’t rule out wider pay cuts, but said this was not on the agenda at the moment. 

"At AMV, we have always seen our people as our greatest assets, given they are the ones who bring the creativity which helps power our clients’ businesses," Douglas said. 

"As clients’ needs have inevitably changed during this global crisis, we have taken a very intentional and considered approach to our own business planning. Furlough is designed to protect jobs and that is of fundamental importance to us. We are using it where it makes sense to do so and, in addition, senior management have taken voluntary pay cuts. Unfortunately, I think it is unlikely that the sector will recover without the need for redundancies, but we are still exploring our options."

AMV’s decision, which staff were told about last week, came after parent company BBDO implemented cost-cutting measures including redundancies, furloughs and salary cuts at its North American operations – with BBDO New York chief creative officer Greg Hahn among those who lost their jobs.

A Campaign survey earlier this month found that adlanders are more likely to report experiencing a pay cut than being furloughed.