Sorrell: Short The Stock Of The Holding Company That Wins Disney

Sir Martin Sorrell popped into Advertising Week in New York City Wednesday, although the surprisingly dressed-down leader of S4 Capital looked like he was either just coming from or headed off to the gym. 

Sorrell participated in The Future of TV is Now Series to discuss how personalization is key to connecting with modern consumers.

Sorrell believes Amazon is one of the industry's most pressing threats, as company CEO Jeff Bezos sees potential rivals as "your margin, my opportunity." Sorrell cites Amazon's recent launch of Lady Gaga's makeup collection and its version of Allbirds shoes as "massive wake up calls."

As he has done often since leaving WPP last year, Sorrell asserted that the major holding companies rely on older business models that are not feasible in today's 24/7, always-on culture. These companies simply cannot compete with lower-cost business models, he said. 



Sorrell recommended shorting the stock of the company that wins the Disney global media review, speculating that the pricing guarantees and promises made to land the account will be difficult if not impossible to achieve.

Marketers are struggling to adapt in the current landscape where consumers are much more empowered by technology than in the past, Sorrell said. It's all about being "faster, better, and cheaper.” 

Sorrell's S4 Capital, for instance, delivers at least one Netflix campaign a week. Their recent "Narcos" project developed 1.5 million pieces of creative.

"Today's landscape has completely evolved away from the 30-second TV spot," Sorrell says, adding that the "big idea is still important," but not everything is built around one major ad.


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