Despite a call by the world’s largest marketer (i.e., P&G) to “reunite” media and creative, don’t expect the world’s largest agency holding company to do that — at least not in the traditional way.
“I think it is very difficult to merge back creative agencies with media agencies to that extent,” WPP Chairman/CEO Martin Sorrell said, “because there will always be an argument about who’s in control.”
Sorrell’s comment reveals the power that media services agencies have gained in the decades since holding companies unbundled media from creative. He acknowledged that “ironically, we may have come full circle again,” but maintained that in the near term, it is up to the holding company—not its media, creative and other specialized operating units—to reintegrate the process for its clients.
“Ultimately, it may be different,” Sorrell said, alluding that there may one day be a more formal structural integration, but repeating the power and control issues that would ensue. “The argument will always be who leads that team and where should it come from,” he said, adding: “Over the last few years, the answer to that question was no longer traditional creative.”