IPG CEO Michael Roth sent a letter to its agencies asking them to scale back both their attendance and awards submissions for the October show. In addition to cutting executive salaries, WPP banned all nondiscretionary spending on travel, hotels and awards shows. At Omnicom there has been talk of pulling back on 2020 awards shows, and a Dentsu Aegis spokesperson called for “an alternative awards approach.”
The holding companies’ unified response indicates that lavish award shows such as Cannes are bucketed under “nondiscretionary spending” in times of crisis. Holding companies spend tens of millions of dollars on Cannes annually, and sitting out the event could offer much-needed cost savings during a recession.