Over at Adweek Michael Wolff spots that Sorrell is worrying about social media, or rather the digital media advertising market. He's jawboning, Wolff concludes.
Facebook, like Google before it, is about to usher in another great depression in the value of the ad market. Its billions of user views which it can sell for fractional pennies will create, for Facebook, a cash gusher. But for everyone else, it will cheapen the value of digital media. By once again letting the technology guys control the advertising play, the chance is great that they will take volume instead of spending the time and effort to develop a more particular and exclusive branding play.
Sir Martin, in other words, is trying to put a stake in the ground.
The digital world is surely the future of advertising, but, as surely, the digital guys are fucking it up. Worse, the big digital kahunas have come up with a way to make money for themselves, at the expense of everybody else. Worse yet, the forms of advertising they’ve created don’t even work very well - so the entire craft becomes devalued.
It’s war - of a sort.
Curiously, WPP is Google's biggest client (and it will, no doubt, if it is not already, become Facebook’s biggest client), but, because of AdSense’s fundamental democratization of the medium, this means that WPP is still a small overall contributor. Large ad agencies hold large sway over television; they don’t over big digital platforms.
It's an important point, selling on quantity instead of quality obviously devalues the entire market, and gives me flashbacks to the email-marketing turned spam of the nineties that pretty much killed email as a way of communication. Sorrell might publicly worry about ' interrupting' peoples social time with messages, but what he's really worrying about is the advertising media. While young kids in proverbial garages have hacked their way up to world domination and are now the proud owners of media channels nobody even knew existed ten years ago, traditional advertising agencies missed taking them out for liquid lunches to get the best media deals.
There's a solution, Sorrell. Own your own new media. Email me and I'll tell you how, you have the mail. ;)