Daniel Farey-Jones
Apr 26, 2012

VIDEO: Sorrell talks 'horizontality', frenemies and his new tech alliance

WPP's chief Sir Martin Sorrell talks about the logic of partnering with an IT company, his desire for "horizontality" and his mixed feelings about Google, Facebook and Twitter

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

In a joint venture, WPP's specialist tech operation Fabric Worldwide (that evolved out of True Worldwide) and Infosys have launched a cloud-based marketing platform called BrandEdge. They claim BrandEdge unifies "marketing and technology expertise" and brings together "the full spectrum of digital marketing activities including creation and management of digital properties, data management, coordination with multiple partners, and campaign execution".


The combination, claimed Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer, WPP, has won three out of three pitches including healthcare and consumer giant GlaxoSmithKline and two of WPP's top 30 clients, yet to be revealed.

Speaking at the offices of WPP's new ally Infosys on Monday (23 April) to inaugurate the latter's new "customer experience centre", Sorrell expanded on the background to the tie-up with Infosys.

Sorrell explained his latest buzzword – "horizontality" – his label for pulling together all WPP's businesses to work together, "because clients don't hire agencies but people".

Asked what he thought would happen to WPP's peers if they didn’t follow it down the road of applying technology, Sorrell was measured, responding that "we all" managed to survive the rise of Google and then the recession.

He went on to claim WPP had "good relationships" with key digital players – companies he has previously described as "frenemies" – predicting it is on course to spend $2bn with Google and $400m with Facebook this year.

True to form, he turned critical, accusing them of being new media owners masquerading as technology companies and comparing their pitch to Rupert Murdoch going "straight to our clients".

He suggested it would be wise for marketing services companies to strike alliances with technology companies which have relationships with chief technology officers or chief information officers.

"We'd better prepare for the day when we engage just as much with CIOs as CMOs," he concluded.

This article was first published on Campaign UK

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