Speaking at H+K Strategies D2 Conference in London, Sir Martin Sorrell made it known he is not happy with what he sees as a prevailing attitude within the industry that creativity resides solely
within the walls of creative agencies. It’s an attitude that even permeates his own WPP shops.
He told the conference
audience: "What I dislike is the snooty attitude that creativity resides in creative
agencies" and that he believes three elements -- technology, data and content -- have changed the "nature of creativity."
He added: "In the last 20 years, the definition of creativity has
broadened immeasurably. The big issue is not creativity, but how you adapt it to what else is going on." He made note of creativity emanating from many different areas outside a typical agency
Sorrell is also none too pleased that brands continue to treat agencies like "banks and insurance companies" and that brands are increasingly unwilling to take a
partnership or investment approach to working with an ad agency. Of this ongoing trend, Sorrell said:"People are choosing agencies on the basis of payment terms and whether they are prepared to insure
an indirect level of liability on intellectual property infringement."
Pessimistic as that may sound, Sorrell does believe the industry will see a return to the days of true
partnership between brands and agencies but noted that successful agencies will look a lot more like WPP's own Team Detroit adding, "Clients don’t care about vertical brands [agencies]. The
issue is, how do you make sure the best people are made available to clients? That's the model of the future."