Much is going on in the advertising world these days, said Wilder D. Baker, chief executive at Warwick Advertising, "but not much is going on that is good."
Nationwide, ad budgets are down, mega-mergers are sapping the creative juices from some agencies, clients are nervous--if not suspicious--about loyalty of the agencies they use, and efforts to clamp new restrictions on advertising for tobacco and alcohol are gaining strength.
As a result, an estimated 4,000 professionals are out of work. Amid this unsettled environment, Baker said, "too many agencies are spending time worrying about things other than advertisers."
Indeed, one major advertiser, Kraft Inc., says it does not want to take its ad business to a mega-merged agency. "It is hard to accept an agency as a partner if another partner with the agency is competing with you and hitting you where it hurts," said Joel D. Weiner, executive vice president of corporate marketing services at Kraft.
There were, however, some positive projections.
Keith Reinhard, chairman and chief executive of DDB Needham Worldwide Inc., a division of the newly merged Omnicom Group, said that since the merger six months ago between Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper Worldwide, the dust has finally settled--and settled nicely.
The Needham division, which was getting badly beaten in the New York market, has since been able to win more new clients there, he said. And the DDB division has made new inroads into the tough Chicago market. "We merged," Reinhard said, "because we need each other to survive."