Sorrell: 2014 will be the big year for advertising

WPP chief exec Sir Martin Sorrell reckons next year will herald the industry's biggest recovery so far.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 25 Oct 2013
The amount companies are prepared to spend on advertising is seen as a bellwether for the economy generally: if there’s spare cash to spend on ads, things must be going well. So results from WPP, the world’s largest ad agency, are a big event.

The good new is, things are going swimmingly: WPP’s pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of July rose 12% year-on-year to £524m (the first time its first-half profits have ever topped half a billion), while revenues rose 7.1% to £5.3bn.

Is this enough to ease pressure on the company from the merger between rivals Publicis and Omnicom, which will knock it off the top spot when (/if) it takes place?

At the end of July WPP chief exec Sir Martin Sorrell was very vocal about the deal’s downsides, calling it ‘puzzling strategically’ and asking why Omnicom shareholders would ‘approve a nil-premium merger’.

‘American media owners and clients are going to be concerned this was rushed out,’ he added, hopefully.

Now, Sorrell seems more relaxed. This morning, he told the BBC the merger could give WPP a renewed vigour.

‘We’ve been number two before… being a challenger brand has its virtues. It energises you.’

Although he was cautious about 2013, saying in the statement that client confidence is only ‘slightly increased’, 2014 looks like a better bet, with the World Cup, Winter Olympics ‘and, would you believe, another United States election – the mid-term Congressionals’.

So another indication that recovery is beginning to set in. Thank goodness for that.

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