WPP and Publicis Groupe have been fighting a bitter battle to take the lead in the digital agency sector, with Publicis’ acquisition of Razorfish from Microsoft for $530m last year seen as a great, maybe game-winning coup.
Now WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has hit back with the formation of True Worldwide, a new agency led by former Fallon UK creative director Tony McTear, TBWA planner Simon Law and, crucially, former Razorfish European bosses Neil Miller and Chris Perry.
True, in which WPP will hold a big minority stake, will be based in London with a technology facility in Seattle. WPP hopes it will become a global network, producing clever strategies for clients partly through using WPP’s vast data resources.
It’s a nice idea and will rattle a few cages at Publicis which is struggling to find a structure to fit its numerous digital interests. Digital boss David Kenny recently quit in what looked like a dispute over digital strategy and control.
But Sir Martin is a notoriously hard task master. He may have to be rather patient with this one if it really is going to go up against Razorfish.