Even before the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through the global economy, there were signs that times were changing for advertising agency giants, beset by a rise in creative and media in-housing, consultancies encroaching on their field of play, and smaller, nimbler independents gaining market traction.

The current crisis will act as a catalyst for agencies to make the changes many knew were needed. There will still be opportunities to harness, but only through a process of reassessment, refocusing and rediscovering control of cost.

It is vital that agencies act quickly and decisively to fix the basic economics. A review of service offerings, business models, organizational structures and flexibility is key to survival.

“It is through greater efficiency and effectiveness that agencies will be able to create the opportunities for future growth from a lower cost structure.”


The time for agencies to act is now, addressing their cost bases no longer suitable for the market. AlixPartners has strong experience in supporting agencies to manage these challenges, with specific expertise in the areas of:

  • Operating model redesign
  • Customer and service line profitability assessment
  • Portfolio and service offering review
  • Business simplification and cost reduction
  • Post-merger integration and synergy realization
  • Organizational simplification, re-design and governance improvement
  • Digital capability roadmap development

Fundamental change is no longer an option. How can ad agencies get their houses in order to minimize the impact of significant revenue drops forecast for 2020, and return to profitability? Find out more in our guide.