MUMBAI: Sir Martin Sorrell, ex-CEO of WPP, is optimistic when it comes to India’s future as an advertising leader, given the economic and technological change in the country.
“If I look at WPP today and over the last few years, India has been a pivotal economy for WPP, with a very large share in that market,” he said via video link from London at the ZEE MELT conference in Mumbai recently. (For more on his views about the future of India’s advertising industry, read WARC’s report: Sir Martin Sorrell is bullish on India and S4 Capital’s future.)
Sorrell noted that opportunities for growth can be defined in two ‘buckets’: economic growth and technological growth. India, he said, falls into both.
“It’s interesting that India represents the two buckets I am referring to – the first bucket being the geographical one; faster growth in terms of GDP, population and potential,” Sorrell explained.
“India, in a few years’ time, will be the most populous country on the planet and one with one of the youngest profiles on the planet. Secondly, from a technological point of view, India has leapfrogged a lot of the technologies, it has gone from analogue to smartphones in one leap,” he said.
“There have been a lot of highly disruptive approaches in India, we are going through one now in distribution with Walmart and Flipkart,” he continued.
“Then there is the disruption caused in 4G by Reliance Jio and [Reliance Chairman and MD] Mukesh Ambani’s very significant investment in telecommunications and technology. So India represents to me an opportunity for both economic growth and technological growth, which are the two buckets.”
Sorrell emphasised that he continues to be ‘an unashamed raging Indian bull’ when it comes to his view on the future of India.
“Prime Minister Modi has made a significant impact on the Indian economy, it does seem that the momentum has slightly shifted down – obviously because of the demonetisation and the GST [Goods & Services Tax] we saw recently and maybe other factors too – but I think the political trends in India will continue to improve,” he said.
“The economic background will continue to improve, and I think WPP and indeed other companies in India will continue to improve on the back of strong economic growth and strong technological change, bearing in mind that there are political consequences, mainly in terms of employment, that follow.”
Sourced from WARC