GSD&M is the agency Austin loves to hate. There are many reasons, some probably very valid, for their “reputation” but hearing the news of layoffs today after they lost the Norweigan Cruise Lines account is bad news for Austin’s advertising community.
At its peak, GSD&M had 900 employees in their very nice building on 6th Street and today that number is somewhere well below 500. So, while many in the advertising business in Austin gloat that a large agency got their comeuppance, 400 of our fellow industry professionals have scrambled to find jobs that very few of the other agencies in town can absorb over the last three years.
That means these very bright agency professionals that have experience working on large national accounts that would be a great asset to the smaller shops in town are either forced to change careers or leave town.
As an advertising industry we should be hoping that GSD&M lands another huge account and takes time to evaluate their business model or whatever strategic housecleaning they need to do so that we may continue to bring national brands to Austin.
GSD&M put Austin on the map as a place safe for a national brand to have an agency of record and without them (whether you like it or not) we all have to work harder to convince a national brand to do business in Austin, Texas. As much as we may like to think we are brilliant and live in a great city, without a depth of experience and pool of qualified talent here we all might as well be working at ad agencies in Waco.
So, chin up, to all those laid off today. Hopefully someone will scoop you up. And, to GSD&M, here’s hoping you are one great pitch away from a whale!