I just watched a six-and-a-half-minute video of Martin Sorrell interviewed by a giggly girl in a vividly pink dress, and -- give credit where credit is due -- it's easily the best Q&A with the WPP Group chief that I've ever seen.
Usually, as head of the world's largest advertising holding company, Mr. Sorrell sticks to a pretty reliable set of topics: how ad spending is going up because of the Olympics and political elections, the importance of China to the global economy or Google being a "frenemy."
But in this one, where the hot seat is a shiny plastic chair with leopard-print accents, he's not serious or gruff. He actually seems like he might know how to have a little fun.
"It's a bit Barbie-ish," he said of the at the outset of the bubblegum-pink set for the session. But he gamely answers the questions, earnestly posed by host Jesse Draper, and he's laughing and smiling throughout. If you haven't heard of "The Valley Girl Show," it describes itself as "Ellen" but with guests you'd see on Charlie Rose or MSNBC. Others who've had the totally tubular treatment have included Dennis Crowley, Sheryl Sandberg and Elon Musk.
The executive then complies with Ms. Draper's request for tales of his British knighthood and even comes up with a funny anecdote about Her Majesty the Queen. After HRH dubbed him and put the sword on his shoulders, they had a brief conversation. "She said to me, 'Are you still involved in the business?' " Somewhat taken aback, Mr. Sorrell answered, "Well, ma'am, I am -- unless you know something that I don't."
Mr. Sorrell talks a bit about his Ukrainian background -- his grandparents left Kiev in the early 1900s. He refuses a dance challenge, saying that his wife Cris (short for Cristiana Falcone, who works for the World Economic Forum) has got far better moves. Lest he come off like a spoilsport, he agrees to a tie-tying contest, which results in his concluding the interview with a pastel-pink bow around his face.
Kudos, Valley Girl. Like, you totally nailed it.
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