Sorrell Speaks To Cautious Clients At Davos, Sees 'Cocktail Of Political Risk'

Speaking at Davos this week, S4 Capital head Marin Sorrell said that advertising and marketing clients still remain cautious about macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns heading into the new year.  

“Last year they were super cautious,” Sorrell said during an interview on CNBC. Now, he added, they’re “a little less cautious” versus a year ago. 



Sorrell opined that the “cocktail of political risk” that exists today “is almost unprecedented.” He noted tense U.S. - China relations and Middle East strife. “Would you invest in a “destabilized Eastern Europe?” he added.  

In the not-too-distant future, Sorrell predicts that the top economies will be China, U.S., India, Indonesia and Germany. India, he added is “on fire, in a good way.” 

This year is also important for other political reasons, Sorrell said. About 70 countries will hold national elections including the all-important U.S. election in November and “the specter of Trump” possibly returning to office. “Deep down,” he surmised, many North American business leaders are “akin with Trump,” believing his policies would be good for the region’s economy.  

On the subject of AI, Sorrell said the technology is “an extremely powerful tool for good” and potentially for evil as well. “Self-regulation is the key,” he believes. “No government agency can hope to do it.”  

The big tech companies have taken steps to bolster brand safety, address privacy and help deter electoral “intrusions,” Sorrell asserted. And they will have to “redouble their efforts” as it pertains to acting responsibly with AI.  

Sorrell also predicted that 2024 will be the year when meaningful client AI use cases begin to appear. So far, he added, they’ve been “few and far between.” 

One area that will come “under attack” from AI is the media planning and buying sector, which Sorrell estimates has about 250,000 employees currently. “With AI we won’t need them all,” he said. Algorithm outputs are “far more effective.”  


1 comment about "Sorrell Speaks To Cautious Clients At Davos, Sees 'Cocktail Of Political Risk'".
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  1. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, January 18, 2024 at 11:10 a.m.

    “Self-regulation is the key,” eh? We're doomed then. 

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