Jwt: Martin Sorrell's Whip Has Madison Avenue Wincing

J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather share a common owner, Britain's WPP Group PLC, and it is turning out to be one demanding parent. WPP is saddled with $600 million in debt after acquiring the agencies in 1987 and 1989, respectively. Although WPP restructured the debt in April, investors have forced down its New York-traded stock from 21 to 4 in the past year, and the company has been plagued by rumors of a coming cash crunch. Now, as an ad recession pummels profits, WPP is demanding that both shops cut costs. At Ogilvy, the strain has hurt morale and threatened some big accounts. Thompson has already cut costs to the bone, but the pressure is unrelenting. Here's how both shops are weathering the storm.

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