SOURCE: Alt.

December 18, 2008 19:08 ET

The Grinch Hasn't Stolen Christmas, but His Presence Is Felt

CEO Survey Details Scaling Back of Holiday Fetes

OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwire - December 18, 2008) - CEOs from over one-third of North American-based independent advertising agencies and over half of non-North American agencies told a Worldwide Partners Inc. global survey that the global financial crisis has prompted them to cancel or curtail traditional holiday celebrations. Alt. (www.thinkalt.com), a leading digitally fueled, independent marketing agency and member of Worldwide Partners Inc. shares the findings of this recent poll.

Uncertainty over the future, cost cutting and concern about sending inappropriate messages to staff and clients were some of the reasons cited by those who responded that they were scaling back or canceling parties. Many said they would simplify proceedings or bring the holiday celebration in house.

However, not everyone is feeling holiday blues. 62% of North American CEOs who responded said they had not altered their plans, with many saying they had a desire to reward staff for what remains a good year this year. 46% of the non-North American CEOs responding also said their holiday plans are intact.

"The findings are consistent with what is happening in the global economy," said Alt. Chairman Bill Fritsch. "Despite the meltdown, this year will go in the books as a good year for most of the partners and we want to reward staff accordingly. The end-of-year celebration is a key component of that."

In North America, 38% of the 29 CEOs who responded said that the economy was prompting them to scale back on their holiday parties this year. Of that group, 14% said they are canceling the event. Among non-North American CEOs, 54% of the 28 respondents said that they were scaling back on their Christmas, New Year's or Chinese New Year's celebrations. 11% of those respondents said that they were canceling the event.

"As we all read about the worsening financial crisis, I'm sure that we will hear about all sorts of cutbacks among agencies and clients who are publicly traded and have to answer to shareholders and institutional investors. Many of the latter are also feeling pain," said Fritsch. "We partners are independent businesses. This does not make us immune from the turmoil, but we may be in a better position to adapt to the storm. In fact, history shows that nimble businesses, such as independent agencies, often thrive in adversity."

The survey, which had responses from 57 CEOs, was conducted during the week of November 17, 2008. It is one of an ongoing series of surveys that WPI will conduct to take the temperature of "Main Street" advertising agencies on various topics. Worldwide Partners Inc. CEO Surveys can be found in the "Press Room" at www.worldwidepartners.com.

About Alt.

Alt. is the alternative to agencies stuck using traditional marketing and advertising to solve today's communication problems. Instead Alt. is a digitally fueled independent full service marketing agency founded and fueled by agency veterans who combine strategy, solutions and creative to produce work that resonates with those looking for alternative ways of addressing today's marketing needs and expectations. Currently the firm works with clients such as Cisco, Microsoft and McAfee. The company has offices in the Bay Area and Seattle. Visit www.thinkalt.com or call (206) 719-7090 for more information. Alt. is an active member of Worldwide Partners Inc. the world's 9th largest marketing communications network. For more information visit WorldwidePartners.com.

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