Holding companies like Publicis Groupé, IPG and Omnicom are busy consolidating their position in India, but WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell is far from perturbed about it. Sorrell believes that in this “third wave” in the advertising, media and communication domain, WPP is clearly differentiated from the competition.
He explained that the first wave was when the creative revolution took place and “one big idea” was identified as the future route. The second wave was when media holding companies consolidated functions that allowed the entities to negotiate better in buying deals. The third wave, as Sorrell sees it, is in the application of technology.
He said, “It is what MSN is doing, and Google is doing with DoubleClick and we are doing with Real Media. That sets us apart from our competition completely. In markets like India, I don’t even see them catching up. Our competition is doing a lot of chatter and very little doing. I don’t see them doing anything.”
He reiterated on his view that Google has a new role – that of a ‘fri-enemy’ or a ‘fr-oe’. He said that on one level WPP was one the biggest buyers of Google services, and at another level, it was competing with Google.
On the subject of digital, he pointed out that India was one of the unique cases where both digital and traditional media were growing. He also pointed out that video communication was emerging in a strong way. Speaking on how WPP maintained the balance in giving attention to both digital and traditional, he said, “We push our businesses to embrace technology as aggressively as possible, and at the same time keep a constant check on what we are doing on the other fronts.”