Social Distancing With Friends: Michael Roth

Michael Roth IPG

IPG CEO Michael Roth believes that post-pandemic, aspects of work-from-home life will definitely stick at agencies, and business travel policies will be dramatically changed.

“Working from home has turned out to be fairly attractive,” he said. “It’s amazing how the world and commerce go on.”

Overall, the tone from IPG clients is pretty erratic. Travel, cruises, airlines and some retail clients are completely dark. But in verticals such as tech and healthcare, where the knee-jerk reaction was to cut, clients are coming back to pitch for new business and project work.

Most are looking to build brand loyalty through the downturn. Those currently spending on media are looking to IPG to understand where to spend and how.

“They need to continue to invest in their products and brands, and that’s what we do,” he said.

While IPG’s executive team successfully worked through the 2008-2009 recession, this one will be different. At best, Michael predicts a gradual U-shaped recovery that depends heavily on vaccines and testing and “more importantly, how soon small businesses come back,” he said.

“This is a consumer-driven recession, which is dependent on small business and recovery,” he said.

Michael normally spends his weeks in the city, but these days he’s working full time from his home office in Pound Ridge, NY, where he’s sheltering with his wife. He’s been leaning into many quarantine trends – online shopping, streaming TV – but hopes to hit the golf course as the weather warms up.

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