WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell has dismissed the threat posed to his business by the new formed advertising titan Publicis Omnicom Group, by saying that Nielsen, Facebook and Google are now his company’s main competitors – despite being leapfrogged in terms of scale by the newly merged group.
The advertising group is increasingly dependent on digital advertising, data investment management and media planning for revenues, generating 75 per cent of WPP’s $18bn revenues from these sectors.
Addressing the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Data Summit, Sorrell said: “We're not a traditional creative business anymore," Sorrell said. "I don't know what the numbers are for our [traditional advertising] competitors, but what I do know is even they have shifted ground.
“It’s amusing to me that the POG Group is now saying that they can be bigger to compete with them," Sorrell said. "Five minutes ago, they were saying they want to partner with them. They don’t know which way their heads are going to go."
"It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to go against a $300 billion company like Google, or Facebook at $100 billion. And by the way, watch out for China.
“The lines of difference between us and all those sets of competitors that I mentioned, particularly the ones that are closer, are going to get less and less and that worries me because we're not great data engineers, historically, as an industry. We need to invest more in technology."