Where are we as we go into the (pre-Christmas) weekend? PG/IPG, Sorrell, Wieden and Murdoch

It’s been an interesting year but one that, as Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, more noted for “the dog that didn’t bark.”

The dog that didn’t bark, even though lots of people thought they heard its woof, was Publicis Groupe’s bid for Interpublic. This was the big story of the summer but, somehow, didn’t happen.

It will certainly re-emerge next year as IPG grapples with problems at its big two agencies McCann and DraftFCB. Most worryingly for IPG it keeps losing out when mega-clients ‘consolidate’ their business into holding companies.

IPG boss Michael Roth (pictured) needs to get the best price for his shareholders while his company still sits at the marcoms top table.


It’s been a big year for WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell too: he was involved in a spat with his shareholders over his pay; he brought WPP back to the UK from Ireland, he bought go-go digital agency AKQA for $540m and he saw WPP’s fortunes slide alarmingly in the last quarter of the year, putting its organic growth behind the likes of Aegis (now owned by Dentsu) and PG.

WPP’s fortunes go up and down like a yo-yo along with global ad expenditure. Somehow Sorrell needs to show that WPP can out-perform the market.


Wieden+Kennedy swept up most of the accolades for 2012, becoming the agency of choice for a number of big clients including Procter & Gamble, Facebook and Mondelez.

Even non-fans of Dan Wieden (left), of whom there are quite a few, felt forced to acknowledge that the agency had done good.

We have been even accused of being in W+K’s pocket for giving its London outpost our Agency of the Year award and, usually, liking its output. So we’ll be extra-merciless next year.


The British media kept the world amused – or horrified – this past year with the dirty doings at News Corporation’s News of the World and, latterly, the BBC’s embarrassments over the Jimmy Savile affair, its repercussions and the complete failure of the Beeb’s management to deal with it all.

What can you say? I’m far from convinced that Lord Patten (still hanging on as BBC chairman) and new director-general Tony Hall will get a grip either. The best thing for the BBC would be to report to Ofcom as regulator. Then Patten and Hall, or whomever, could get on with running the organisation. But that’s never going to happen as the governing Tory Party hate Ofcom, a Labour invention.

As for News Corporation, it will just get whackier and whackier until they take Rupert Murdoch out and shoot him. His last notion, it seems, was to back a bid for US general David Petraeus (left) as a Fox-backed ‘independent’ presidential candidate. Until Dave was found to be rather too close to his biographer.

Citizen Kane’s got nothing on Rupert.


There we go then, have a nice weekend.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.