I lost track of the number of times Sir Martin Sorrell, the peripatetic CEO of WPP, said he had one final point during his lunch remarks at UBS. It worked out, though, because most of them seemed to have something to do with online. A few highlights from the session:
— Sorrell spoke of a recent WPP strategy meeting that involved Google CEO Eric Schmidt, top people from WPP investments Wild Tangent and SpotRunner and others. As he tells it, the SpotRunner exec planned and bought a campaign online five minutes in front of the group; including making the ad for WPP client Century 21 from stock footage, the process took about 15 minutes. He asked if the same could be done for a non-local campaign and the response was yes. Sorrell: “You could see the blood draining away from the faces of the people running our businesses.”
— Amazing what a difference time and a $900 million guarantee from Google have done to soften Sorrell’s tone when it comes to News Corp. None of the negativity of previous years; now he cites Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. as the most aggressive and most successful mainstream media company when it comes to evolving.
— His attitude is tilting a tad when it comes to Google, too, describing the search leader as the “frenemy” — a term he says came into use at his firm during the aforementioned strategy meeting.
Sorrell wants WPP to be the biggest customer for Google, Yahoo and the rest. He said they’re working now with Google for their top 50 clients but he’s keenly aware that Google also sees him as competition. Sorrell: “Yahoo seem to be a bit more friendly … more about people; Google is more about technology.”
— WPP.com has been set up as a separate vertical for online investments and activities; Sorrell describes it as a stimulant or irritant. “The sign of success will be if we dismember WPP.com.”
— He see magazines coming under increasing pressure. Why wait when you get info now?
Related: <a href="http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/wpps-sorrell-dispenses-wisdom-about-internet-advertising-and-takes-a-dig-at/" title="WPP