In the economic gloom enveloping the world’s ad agencies, staff layoffs are no longer news.

Unless, that is, the agency in question is London-headquartered Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Britain's largest, which during the last recession in the early nineties refused to sanction even a single redundancy.

However, AMV this week bowed to the inevitable and cut eighteen jobs, primarily among its creative and support staff, thus underscoring the bleakness of the current climate.

Says AMV chairman Michael Baulk: “AMV has always treated its people with decency and honesty and, in spite of the significance and sadness at having to part company with some staff, our people principles and commitment to top quality work and service hold true.”

“As AMV re-gears itself for the challenges ahead,” Baulk continued, “ we remain resolute and confident in our work, our clients, our people and in our ability to punch our weight in a difficult market.”

While AMV is known as a considerate employer, its reluctance to lay-off personnel is not mere altruism. The agency’s retention of staff during the economic chill of the early 90s saw it leaving rivals at the starting block in the sprint for new business when the climate warmed.

Many observers associate this policy with the shop’s meteoric growth in the mid-90s when it pushed Saatchi & Saatchi from the number one slot in the UK agency league table – a position AMV still retains.

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