In the year to date WPP Group has creamed no less than £1.8 billion ($3.5bn; €2.6bn) in new business wins from across the globe, according to Paris-headquartered media intelligence specialist RECMA.

If WPP is now the King of pitches, its MindShare media network is 'King's Champion', contributing a massive £1.3bn in additional media planning and buying business.

Says MindShare UK ceo Kelly Clark: "The strategy we laid out eight years ago when we were planning [our] launch is now paying dividends for us and our clients.

"We predicted that there would be four or five consolidated buying points and that scale would be important to play in the premier league. But more importantly, we saw that creativity and intelligence would make the difference.

Conceded an anonymous media rival: "It's been WPP's year, no question, but I think that the next stage of the battle will not be about who is the biggest, but who has the best people."

  • Meantime, WPP ceo Sir Martin Sorrell, for whom caution is a kneejerk reaction, is hedging his bets as to future growth.

    Speaking to the Credit Suisse First Boston media and telecoms conference in New York, he told investors that uncertainty over US economy and the anaemic dollar ['Our dollar, your problem,' as Nixon's treasury secretary once famously told the rest of the world] could impact on WPP's earnings in 2005.

    Nonetheless, he expected to see 15% growth in earnings in 2004, while growth in 2005-06 could be between 10% and 15%, depending on the US economy.

    Said Sorrell: "A negative factor next year will be what's happening in America, whether the economy will be under control. When America sneezes, we all catch a cold."

    Data sourced from Media Week (UK) and BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff