Global adland presents its very own Game of Thrones

By Gordon Montgomery

And so the Five Kingdoms of the advertising world continue their battle for supremacy. Still showing little sign of desiring to give up power, the ageing kings, Martin Sorrell of House WPP, John Wren of House Omnicom, Maurice Levy of House Publicis and Michael Roth of House IPG continue their iron rule.

But sometimes change does occur. His very powerful and rich father supports the young and newly-crowned king at House Havas, Yannick Bollore. The riches were demonstrated when he bought the lands that House Havas did not own and the power when his personal intervention captured the stronghold of O2 without a fight. With this support, King Bollore seems destined to try and challenge the major houses.

Amongst these houses it has been a year of much intrigue. The alliance between House Omnicom and House Publicis, which would have given them unassailable power, was first made and then unmade. The subsequent response of the two kings was very different – King Wren lost his Hand of the King in murky circumstances and has looked inward to develop his strength. King Levy’s cunning strategy was much different – he immediately emptied his coffers to buy the loyalty of the immense House Sapient and their tools of alchemy, many of which are poorly understood by the old kingdoms. Who will be proved right?

King Sorrell continued his unswerving path, binding to him houses large and small, in all corners of the known world, some strong, some weak, until he has now the mightiest force of all the kingdoms. However his vaulting ambition is clear and the seers expect some significant strike, perhaps in a direction not yet clearly visible. Finally King Roth broods on the waning powers of House IPG, who in the length of one long winter have fallen from their position as the mightiest of the houses. Deep into the night he and his maester and advisors seek ways to restore the house to its days of glory.

Meanwhile the power in the south, Prince Ishii of House Dentsu, continues to influence events from afar. He has made a momentous alliance, with House Aegis and together they have won significant battles against the Five Kingdoms, most impressively wresting General Motors from House Publicis and House IPG. They continue to make raids under the mighty warrior Lord Buhlmann and are ambitiously eying the other houses.

And what of dragons you ask? Look to the East where the Chinese dragons, old in mythology, great in potential, hatched but not yet grown, will surely play a vital part to come. “It is known”.

But finally, outside the Five Kingdoms, forces are at work, which yet may render all the efforts above as of naught. Whilst the houses and their kings jostle for advantage and position, strange and terrible entities lurk beyond the digital wall – The Others. With names to strike fear in the heart – Facebook, Deloitte Digital, Google, Accenture Digital – their powers are immense, their resources unimaginable and their leaders remorseless.

They have tested their strength in a few battles, but only as feints and sorties. The day is close when they will surely throw their full might towards the 5 kingdoms and when they do the whole creative world will tremble and brave hearts and clear minds will be needed to stand against them.

To be continued……..

37a4c11Gordon Montgomery is head of executive search at advertising and media consultancy Ciesco.

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