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Avenue A/Razorfish

Back To Razorfish… Lay ‘Em Off While Opening The Purse

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While Razorfish buys agencies in Spain, it’s laying off staffers in New York…

“Many companies, especially those in the financial services sector, have been hit hard by the economic crisis. This has had a direct impact on our business, particularly in New York. As a result, Razorfish needed to lay-off about 40 people today, about 2 percent of our national workforce.”

Okay look. It sucks that people are getting laid off in New York while agencies are being bought in foreign countries. It totally sucks and looks terrible on paper.

Here’s the thing – lets try and be nuanced about this… The US market is in the crapper. Salaries cost cash and that’s the bottom line. The agency, to survive in good standing, has made the belated, but smart move of looking overseas while the looking is still good. Meanwhile, the other hand is cutting staff Stateside. While some may want to cry bollocks, this is the nature of business in general. Some agencies are trying to stay afloat to keep the other employees receiving pay checks.

I will say that I wish they could have done a “everyone works 4 days rather than 5″ type of thing, but hell, maybe it wasn’t possible. For those laid off – I’ll see you at the headhunter’s office? Maybe we can get some coffee and commiserate.

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Razorfish Goes For Global Domination

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The recently name changed Razorfish is still on the chopping block. In August, we told you that Microsoft was looking to dump the agency in a swap with WPP for Open AdStream. Big wigs at Razorfish said this was untrue despite the mass media coverage the rumor received. Sure. Whatever.

But, yesterday Razorfish purchased Spanish digital firm Wysiwyg to expand in Europe and “said it aims to generate a third of sales outside the U.S. by the end of 2009.” Full steam ahead!

Chief Executive Officer Clark Kokich said the shop was looking to expand deeper into Europe as America’s economic ship sails into oblivion. More foreign acquisition will surely help the agency land ever larger, global accounts.

Meanwhile, Mommy Dearest Microsoft declined 1.1 percent this morning.

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Avenue A Is Out. Razorfish Remains.

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Is the sky falling? Apparently, it is my friends. Avenue A/Razorfish is now just, um, Razorfish. From Adweek:

“Both brands represented innovation and speed to market, and they still do so today,” Razorfish CEO Clark Kokich. “Nevertheless, we are making it easier to do business with us by using a single name.”

Interesting that it was the “Avenue A” part of the business that left the stage considering that the shop bought Razorfish. Yes, Razorfish is the stronger brand, but don’t you feel a little side for the “A”?

Someone else is also getting a name change. Sydney-based digital agency Amnesia, which was acquired two years ago by Avenue A/Razorfish, will now be known as Amnesia Razorfish. Thank heavens they no longer need to add the Avenue A. Then what? It would have been Amnesia Avenue A/Razorfish? That would have been a kiss of death.

Razorfish also promoted four staffers: Craig Batty, vice president, previously client partner; Marisa Gallagher, vice president of user experience, formerly director of user experience; Peter Guagenti, vice president, formerly client partner; and Alyson Hyder, vice president of digital marketing, previously director of digital marketing. Congrats to all.

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AARF Drops the Alcohol Dependency, Goes with Sushi

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That headline didn’t make any sense, unless you read between the lines. We’re told by an agency representative that Avenue A|Razorfish has officially dropped “Avenue A” from their title, and will now go by Razorfish.

Exciting! CEO Clark Kokich said , “For four years we have operated as a single agency with integrated capabilities in the global marketplace, and we don’t need two names anymore. Although both Avenue A and Razorfish are excellent choices as standalone brands, the Razorfish name enjoys stronger brand equity around the world.”

Uh, what? So is Microsoft selling you off, or what? Cuz we’re pretty sure everyone’s much more interested in knowing that bit of information than they are about your name.

And bummer, we say, that we can no longer refer to you as AARF! That’s the most funnest acronym of all times, man, and you had to go and chach it up, try to sound cool et set er, ah. Whatevs, onward and upward, and best of luck to ya.

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Microsoft Swaps With WPP


Everyone is talking about Microsoft looking to dump Avenue A/Razorfish. Matt report on it ages ago here. From AdAge here’s the latest:

“Almost six months after the companies started talking, WPP and Microsoft have reopened talks that could have the software company unloading Avenue A/Razorfish. But the question is whether Microsoft could ever get anyone to buy the digital ad agency for the price at which it needs to sell it.”

At the time of Microsoft’s purchase of mother company, aQuantive which included Avenue A, everyone in the ad business was well aware that the software giant wasn’t so interested in owning Razorfish. However, they went with it. They had just missed out on purchasing DoubleClick to Google and wanted to, needed to stay in the game. At any price and what a price they paid – $800M.

The word on the street is that Microsoft may make a swap rather than trying to make back its over-inflated purchasing price of Razorfish. WPP is apparently looking to off load Open AdStream, which they got lumped with when they purchased its mother company, 24/7 Real Media.

Adage speculates that Open AdStream will be swapped for what they say is the number two digital shop by revenue, Avenue A/Razorfish (see video above), plus some cash in some sort of corporate back water deal. That’s not such bad news for Avenue A. Remember? They lost out on receiving that lush Microsoft benefits package. Maybe they’ll get a better deal over at WPP.

If you are a Razorfish staffer, get in touch yeah? superspyin at gmail dot com

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