MUMBAI: Sir Martin Sorrell believes the advertising and marketing services industry is in a state of flux and that the structural and cyclical disruption currently taking place offers new opportunities for growth.

Speaking yesterday at the Zee Melt festival in Mumbai, the former head of WPP offered some more detail on the thought process that led to the creation of S4 Capital, his new venture.

He observed an industry yet to come to terms with the impact of Google and Facebook, the inroads being made by the likes of Accenture and IBM and the changes in the way clients are going about their business.

“That brings opportunities,” he said. In a $1 trillion industry split 50:50 between traditional and new media, “parts of it are growing, parts of it are stagnant or declining. It’s a question of identifying those growth opportunities – probably in two buckets.”

One is geographical: India has been a “prodigal” market for WPP, he noted. The other is technological, and here too India has demonstrated an ability to leapfrog older technology and embrace the latest disruptive tech.

Sorrell suggested that two “seminal moments” over the past year have been the attempted takeover of Unilever by Kraft Heinz (“no packaged goods company is safe”) and Rupert Murdoch’s deal with Disney.

“Those were the two signals that laid out what will be the agenda for S4 Capital,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to build afresh”, taking into account all the changes happening at clients – “the new structures and new approaches they want” - in media, and in industry.

“It gives us an opportunity to plant our flag, or flags, where we think the greatest opportunities are.”

At the same time, he felt that network agencies and holding companies still have a strong future, although they face challenges in adapting their model at the right pace. “Starting with a clean sheet is easier,” he said.  

Sourced from WARC