An advertising agency so fixated on being trendsetters has retrenched half of its staff as its leaders felt the company was falling behind the lay-off trend that is currently a hit with marketing firms nationwide.
Ball Bag Media, a through-the-line agency in Sandton, Johannesburg, has let go of 35 of its 70 staff complement as a “matter of urgency”.
“Ball Bag has always been known as a trendsetter within the industry,” said the 34-year-old CEO and founder, Calculator Dlamini. “But when we saw other agencies trending on social media for their retrenchment efforts, we felt we could not be left behind.”
To keep its reputation as a leader in trends, Ball Bag looks to retrench its employees while docking their severance, a move they believe will spread like wildfire across the industry.
“The executive committee was sitting in the boardroom thinking of innovative ways of retrenching these poor bastards — while snacking on sushi and sake — when the idea to dock severance hit me. The boys thought I was a genius for bringing it up and I immediately put it into effect.”
The company’s lawyer had advised against the idea but Dlamini would not budge.
“The lawyer thought my idea would not work but he is not running my company. I am the captain of this ship. I let him walk the plank. Fuck him. If my fellow executives loved my idea, then we go ahead with it.”
Employees who were touted for retrenchment were obviously livid about the situation and nervious at the prospect of being jobless.
One employee, Mandy Paulson, 37, said she will not know how to sustain her hobby-horse career, which she says can be costly.
“I was chosen to represent the national team at the World Hobby-Horse Championships in Yemen. But without a job, I don’t think I can afford a plane ticket and accommodation. And since I am getting too old for the game, my hobby-horse career is just about over.”
Still gunning for awards
The retrenchment will not deter Ball Bag from attaining its fifth consecutive AdNews Trendsetter of the Year award, said Dlamini, even though the race to the title is tighter than a virgin’s asshole.
The company garnered its trendsetting reputation in 2014 when it won its first AdNews Trendsetter award.
Dlamini is confident his idea will help the company retain its status and the award.
“After starting this trend of cutting out severances from retrenchment, I am sure we will once again be awarded by AdNews. When that happens, I will celebrate like I always do: sipping from a bottle a half-a-million-rand, 70-year-old Glenlivet whiskey while revving my newly bought Maserati Ghibli in the car park in front of my employees, who will be cheering me on as they walk into the building.”