Sorrell's latest is a socialist salvo
Fresh from casting digital doubt on the new media industry, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell is making headlines again, this time warning of an e-communities ‘threat’. Emiko Terazono has the story in the FT, quoting Sorrell as follows:
How do you deal with socialistic anarchists?In 2006, the CEO of WPP thinks that 1) the internet is a socialist tool and 2) Craig Newmark is a social anarchist. Think about that. It is incredible, isn't it? On behalf of the non-dinosauric population, please allow me to disagree. The internet is one of the (if not the) greatest experiments in democracy and free market economics in the history of the world.
The internet is the most socialistic force you’ve ever seen.
But don't take it from me. Richard Edelman (Sir Martin, Tear Down That Wall) is equally as shocked, while Jarvis goes on to discuss the adman and the ice age.
Read between Sorrell's lines a bit - something I am finding increasingly useful with his speeches - and it is easy to see that Sorrell's biggest fears is not what is happening to advertisers. While an arms-lenght partner with Google at the moment, Sorrell is terrified of what will happen when the joga bonita of search allows advertisers to buy and plan their own media campaigns ... without going through agencies.
We are Google’s third-largest customer, but on the other hand they are talking about an electronic media buying and planning exchange.Edelman chimes in:
Ah, now we get to the bottom line, Sir Martin. The dirty little secret for ad agencies (and hence their holding company owners) is that the real money these days is made in media planning and buying, a model jeopardized by Google and by the dispersion of media which disrupts advertising price points.If the media buying business is disintermediated by the likes of Google and the creative leadership continues to decline, what will be left for WPPs of the world?
In the comments section of Jarvis' post, "Mike G" writes:
When I was at Leo Burnett in the mid-90s we joked that Leo’s slogan “We will make the best creative in the business, bar none” had been changed to “We will PLACE the best creative in the business, bar none.” That pretty much sums up the shift in priorities at the big boys, Sorrell’s empire included.Peter Preston in The Observer suggest that we beware false prophets of the internet age:
Make no mistake, says Sorrell, the 'legacy businesses', the ones with heavy plant, heavy staffing, heavy weights of history on their shoulders, are in trouble. They can never move quickly enough: they are bound to be out-thought and outfought.And then there's this:
Keeping your balance also means keeping calm - for the wisdom of Sorrell wanders around many mansions. Five years ago he told a Yale audience that 'the world is being Americanised'. But that was before he saw India. And, three weeks ago, he said that new media would 'almost certainly' not supplant existing ones.
For aren't J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy and Mather, historic names from the WPP collection, legacy businesses, too? And what precisely are advertising agencies and their great media-buying adjuncts for any longer? The legacy newspaper distribution business, under OFT pressure, is currently being asked whether driving diesel-fuming lorries along motorways in the middle of the night is the best way of getting millions of surplus copies to recycling dumps 24 hours later. You could ask much the same question about advertising agencies.Ouch. Well, Sorrell is right about one thing: They're not ready.
Technorati Tags: advertising, media, dinosaurs, wpp
Monday, June 26, 2006