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Sorrell comes out fighting for WPP’s media agencies

Here’s Sir Martin Sorrell entering the ring (again – in a hoodie this time) against the report by K2 and Ebiquity (not top of his Christmas card list, ever) on “media transparency” for the US National Association of National Advertisers last year.

This time it’s at digital talkfest Demexco in Cologne.

Sorrell says the report was “full of innuendo but no facts” and contrasts the media buying situation in the US favourably with the Middle East, China and Japan, where he says there’s total media “opacity,” with clients not knowing the true price of anything – a dig at Dentsu presumably.

Since the ANA report – and various investigations into “brand safety” on YouTube – media agency growth has gone into reverse, affecting all the big holding companies including Sorrell’s WPP. P&G cut $200m or so from its digital media spend recently and sales went up, which is pretty damning.

Sorrell currently has two big fights on his hands: this one, to recapture the trust of sceptical clients and hence restore growth, and to slim down WPP in a changing, low margin ad world.

Just as challenging in their ways as building up WPP over the past 30 years.

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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.

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