The far reaching discussion touched on many of the challenges facing today’s marketing and advertising community and kicked off by addressing the power of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.
Sorrell defiantly defended the power of TV advertising stating: “Facebook can’t claim that a three-second view – when 50% of the time the sound is off – is the same as a 15, 30 and 60 second TV ad.”
He also passionately explained that media owners don’t have the right to “mark their own homework” and that there is a strong need for more to be done to improve measurement and validation of social, particularly in areas of the world such as the Middle East and Japan.
Discussing the recent scandal where Facebook admitted to making errors with their video metrics, Sorrell stated he believed it to be a good thing for the industry as it simply shone a light on areas that needed to be exposed.
“Sunlight is the greatest detergent. We need these things out in the open. It’s like when Google was on the front page of the Financial Times having to confess that it had seriously underestimated bot traffic, that too was great news for digital marketing.”
Speaking about WPP’s investment in social media platforms and search, Sorrell revealed that the giant would be spending around £5.7b with Google this year, up from the £4b they spent the year before. Once seen as ‘enemies’ of WPP, Sorrell explained that they now see Google and Facebook as ‘frenemies’ but highlighted the fact that search overpowered social, “It is no accident that Google outperforms Facebook four to one.”
When asked about new developments in the industry, Sorrell went on to discuss the progress in the Virtual Reality realm as something to watch out for. Rather than focusing on the technological advancements, Sir Martin was more interested in the endless possibilities for content creation and the advertising opportunities that lie ahead as a result.
To conclude, CNBC’s Carolin Roth asked what future trends the industry can expect to see.
Sorrell was adamant that companies will be merging a lot more in the future in the media landscape.
“It is inevitable you will see further consolidation among clients, media owners and agencies. The industry is oversupplied.” He also urged the future generation of media moguls “to Learn two languages; Code and Chinese.”