Facebook boss writes to the world, the Godzilla Growth syndrome and the week ahead: The Drum editor's overview

By Stephen Lepitak | -

February 20, 2017 | 6 min read

Happy Monday morning everyone. I hope you like the new (slightly more aged) picture of myself. Cheers to Jenny Cleeton for shooting that for me. Here's a bit of an overview of things to be aware of this week:

Facebook's message to the world

Reading Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's open letter, it was hard to get away from the obvious fact that he believes the solution to the world's ills is Facebook – even if it is modified in some form. Facebook can cure all.

Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak

It's easy to be sceptical about this message when the platform has already turned Zuckerberg into one of the richest businessmen on God's green Earth. And media response followed exactly that line of reporting.

But he is a man who has pledged 99% of his Facebook shares will be donated "to advancing human potential" so he clearly believes he can continue to make a major contribution through the global community that he's built. It's very easy for us to mistrust global corporations which with globalization are only set to get bigger – we'll come to the Kraft Heinz bid to merge with Unilever later.

I say good on Mr Zuckerberg for showing even more ambition. His power over media and readership habits worries me, I shall admit – but I don't see him as a Bond villain who aspires to take over the world. We can all try and move to China if that does turn out to be the case though, can't we?

Conglomerate growth to the size of Godzilla-like monsters

As AT&T shareholders were giving the thumbs up to its merger with Time Warner to create a monolith of a media company and Verizon was pushing down the cost of its Yahoo acquisition by as much as $350m, Kraft Heinz announced it had failed in a bid to merge with Unilever. Although it has said it won't return for a second round, you can be sure it's looking around and will be watching the Ben & Jerry's, Hellmann's and Dove owner closely in the future for any chance of a change of heart.

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With President Trump's business tax cuts, expect a lot more money to be floating around from American businesses eyeing British bargains in the wake of Brexit.

We are getting to a stage where the potential scale of some conglomerates is unimaginable – the competition authorities must really have their hands full right now and be nervous of what more could potentially come down the line. It almost seems as though we are in the realms of fantasy when it comes to some business deal valuations – and yet here we are writing about them being proposed. Where will this lead as corporations see astronomical growth as their only way forward, and will it spur their rivals into making similar, enforced moves just to survive?

All I know is that the marketing world will be rubbing its hands at the potential money set to be spent or moved around as a result of these monopolising moves – although the agency networks will also have to grow in order to accommodate the potential demands such scale could bring.

I'm referring to this in future as 'the Godzilla Growth Syndrome' as these companies become monsters, purposefully eying enormous sizes in order to destroy smaller competitors on the way to global domination.

A big announcement

This week The Drum will make a big announcement (which those who follow editor-in-chief Gordon Young on LinkedIn will likely already know). Keep your eyes peeled on the website for a glimpse into the future of the company.

Elsewhere this week at The Drum

What else is going on here across The Drum this week? Well actually quite a lot.

On Tuesday afternoon, our awards team will be attempting to host their first Whatsapp Q&A offering advice on winning awards to those who need a few more professional insights.

Meanwhile on Wednesday I’ll be talking to Jon O’Donnell, managing director, ESI Commercial, at the Digital Media Strategies Event taking place in London about the company’s revenue-driving strategies across its publications and about why it’s expanding in running events too. Coincidentally, media reporter Jess Goodfellow has been speaking to Private Eye editor Ian Hislop about the title’s successful print strategy and why it continues to avoid digital.

Other awards news: the deadline for entering the Online Media Awards, the Roses Creative Awards and the UK Digital Trading Awards will fall on 24 February.

Have a great week everyone and keep up to date with the latest news by registering for our daily newsletters online.


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