Sorrell bashes ‘wounded animal’ IPG

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True to his chosen profession, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell knows how to turn a colorful phrase. Take his comments Thursday morning at the International Advertising Association New York chapter’s Global Marketing Summit. Asked about other advertising holding companies, he described Interpublic Group as a company that has taken to making “irrational acts of a wounded animal.” The comment came a day after word surfaced that IPG was in talks to combine its Draft and Foot Cone & Belding agencies. Sir Martin did not specifically cite which IPG acts he was referring to. But others have questioned the logic of the Draft/ FCB move, with one ad exec calling it “desperate.” Sorrell also had a response to recent public criticism of him by a person he didn’t name but who was obviously Euro RSCG CEO Ron Berger. Earlier this month at the 4A’s management conference, Berger, the outgoing chairman of the organization, accused Sorrell of being more concerned with his company’s bottom line and less concerned with the value of his agency brands and their service to clients. The criticism, said Sorrell, was made with “no research” and “no insight.” So back it up next time, Ron. Meanwhile, Joe Uva, worldwide CEO of OMD, was the lunchtime speaker at the IAA event Thursday and had the crowd roaring with his heartfelt appreciation for being invited to speak. But the thank-you was simply a setup for yet another slam on Sorrell. “It’s not so often I get to be the tallest,” Uva quipped.

—Posted by Steve McClellan

Photo: Jim Winslet