S4 Capital Executive Chairman Martin Sorrell admitted on Wednesday that he no longer sees big tech companies as posing a competitive threat to advertising business—declaring the need to partner with Amazon and Google, not fight them.
Sorrell was appearing on an Advertising Week New York panel exploring the evolution of TV, along with recently appointed General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl.
Sorrell acknowledged his infamous quote calling the tech giants “frenemies” of the ad industry, saying his “view has changed since leaving WPP,” the holding company he led for more than three decades. “Do they want to do the agency job? I don’t think so,” Sorrell said, in response to a question about whether Amazon and Google have too much control over the connected TV space.
“I have knowledge of major WPP clients which tried to bring Google, in particular, in, and Google said ‘no,’” Sorrell said. “They don’t want to provide the service that is provided by agencies.”
He added that his teams (including MightyHive and MediaMonks) have created 1.5 million different creative executions for client Netflix using Facebook, Google and Amazon, and if he were in Wahl’s “position, I would be seeking to engage with these platforms.”
Meanwhile Wahl discussed on stage ways in which General Motors has been trying to work with its own data and analytics team to take back control over its consumers. “What companies have not done is own their own data,” she said. “We know who our audience is. It changes the discussion when we say ‘here’s our audience, what can you do for our audience?’”