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Most of the major advertising holding companies — like WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, IPG, Dentsu Aegis Network and Havas — posted little to no growth in 2017, AdExchanger reports.

Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Our thought bubble: Ad agencies, which bill a significant amount of their time to digital services, are facing the same pain on the media buying side as publishers are on the selling side. Tech has gobbled up the once-lucrative margins from traditional advertising, like print and TV, on all sides.

The pain points:

  1. The decline in ad spending in the consumer package goods category, one of the more traditionally steady ad spend verticals.
  2. The rise of digital practices in consulting firms, like Accenture and PwC, which attributed to strains on the traditional agency model.
  3. The fall of the traditional "agency of record" model, as a result of bringing programmatic and digital teams in-house.

The bright side:

  • Ad spending cuts can be cyclical, and clients reenergize their ad budgets to boost spending again once the market strengthens.
  • Training and consulting opportunities exist for agencies to help clients set up in-house digital shops.
  • An emphasis on brand safety this year will force clients to think more strategically about high-impact, custom executions that tend to be the specialty of traditional agencies. (See item #7.)

Go deeper

CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions

CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

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Former French President Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption

Nicolas Sarkozy, 2011. Photo: XINHUA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A court in Paris on Monday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate, AP reports.

Driving the news: Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is the first president in France’s modern history to have gone on trial for corruption, per AP. He was charged with corruption and influence-peddling.