Google is Mortal: Official (Sir Martin Sorrell)

04 March 2008

LONDON: What do Hans Christian Andersen and Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured) have in common? Psychologists - or drama coaches - might term it 'The Emperor's New Clothes' syndrome. 

Andersen and Sorrell both have exploited this condition with expertise and considerable profit. The former in his charming fairy tale; the latter in his Svengali-like influence over the business and marketing press.

Indeed, some cynics argue that if WPP Group's voluble ceo declared "water is wet", journos would headline it as an utterance combining the wisdom of Solomon with the perception of Aristotle. 

Take Monday's interview in The Guardian, for example. Asked to reveal his views on the recent slippage in Google's share price after data showed a slight dip in the number of clicks on ads, Sir Martin responded jovially ...

"It's nice to know that Google is mortal," he said, [having last summer memorably dubbed Google a "frenemy"]. "It is all relative though, isn't it? What has their growth been over the last few years - 46% and 30% or so? I'd like to have that problem".

Classic bobbing and weaving duly and faithfully headlined.

Sorrell was equally happy to venture an opinion as to the mooted Microsoft-Yahoo merger, opining: "Microsoft/Yahoo is a good move as it makes the market more balanced, which is a good thing. 

"It would make one strong competitor and one [Google] stronger. The big question is how Microsoft would handle it if it goes forward".

Sir Martin is also adept at protecting WPP's stock price with his sturdy semantical shield.

Given that some 15% of WPP's global revenues emanate from China, The Guardian enquired how the company would fare in the Chinese economy's expected post-Olympic downturn? 

Parried the maestro: "The rate of growth can't carry on forever, there has to be some relaxation and the natural time is after Beijing, If there is a pause we would take the time to invest in China more. The long-term growth prospects are strong".

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff