Condé Nast advertising is down a terrifying 30 percent this year, leading to speculation a bunch more people will be fired. Condé's CEO reassured everyone that, yes, they could be fired.
CEO Chuck Townsend's memo, via Peter Kafka at All Things Digital, is like one of the vague, color-coded terrorism-threat warnings pioneered by the last Bush Administration. It just kind of lets you know something awful is going to happen:
Unavoidably, as the downturn extends, we have to make additional difficult decisions to manage costs and ensure our financial well-being. These decisions involve all of us.
This kind of undercuts the second paragraph of Townsend's memo, where he says,
Condé Nast is gaining critical ad revenue market share through the early part of 2009. Perhaps more importantly, our consumer connectivity, as measured in key circulation statistics, is particularly strong.
So, to rephrase: "We're kicking so much ass, it's inevitable we'll have to make terrible cuts as things continue to suck, thanks to your world-class work."
That makes about as much sense as selling women a beauty magazine by convincing them they are fundamentally ugly. Ah, wait, now we get it!
UPDATE: Women's Wear Daily quotes sources saying "all [Condé Nast] publishers have been asked to show how they might cut up to 10 percent from their overall budgets, although no specific targets have been set."