Cannes Lions: WPP’s Sorrell in a spin over the chicken and egg question of creative and media

Is usually omniscient WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell struggling a bit to work out what he actually thinks?

It’s the Cannes Lions adfest next week and Campaign has, rather enterprisingly, prised their views about the festival from the four big marcoms bosses – Sorrell, Omnicom’s John Wren, IPG’s Michael Roth and Maurice Levy of Publicis. Who wins? Levy undoubtedly, less inclined to blow his own trompette.

Anyway, Sorrell (left – with one of the locals?) has taken a bit of stick recently (including here) by saying that media comes ahead of creative these days; that the media folk should produce the strategy and bring in the poor old creatives later to get on with it. Or that’s what we thought he said.

Which he’s clearly aware of. Here’s one excerpt from his comments to Campaign:

What a hardship – to celebrate in June, on the Côte d’Azur, the creative heart of our industry. Not just in traditional advertising but also in new media – and, of course, in media itself (is the medium as important, or even more important, than the message?).

Yep, that’s what we thought he thought.

But later on her says:

I have to admit, we tend to complicate our business. We focus on integration, horizontality, price efficiency. And, yes, all are important.

But none is as important as the quality of the work. If we cannot deliver creatively effective solutions to our clients, they will go elsewhere. I’m not inclined to let that happen. Hence our focus on attracting, motivating and retaining the best creative people in the business.

Simply put, of the three main WPP functional pillars – strategic thinking, creative execution and implementation – creative execution remains the most important. That’s why, every year, I come to Cannes.

But surely implementation equates media? So it’s not so important then Martin?

Is the great man a tad confused? Or is he tailoring his (media) message to the creative market, as it’s Cannes and he doesn’t want to set upon by roaming bands of creative toughs?

I suspect we’ll hear a bit more on this theme as next week wears on.

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advertising cannes lions Creative Maurice Levy Media Sir Martin Sorrell WPP

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.

One comment

  1. What a wanker… Maybe he got started on the Mimosa’s a bit early. On a side note, AdScamers inform me he he had Wendi before Tony. Or was it the other way around?
    Cheers/George

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