Sir Sorrell: Creativity Is Dying, and It’s All Your Fault!

By Shawn Paul Wood 


In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, Sir Martin “Mr. Happy Fun Guy” Sorrell offered agency folks a Debbie Downer moment in the form of a LinkedIn”fluencer” blog post: “The 10 Trends Shaping the Global Ad Business.”

In the post, Sorrell makes several claims that will cause creatives to yank out their hair (wherever it may still grow). Among them is this vitriolic sentiment:


New York is still very much the centre of the world, but power (economic, political and social) is becoming more widely distributed, marching South, East and South East: to Latin America, India, China, Russia, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.

So America’s age is starting to show.

Sorrell attributes this problem to declining birth rates, smaller families, and the growth of digital technology.

“Simply, there will be fewer entrants to the jobs market and, when they do enter it, young people expect to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies. It is hard now; it will be harder in 20 years.”

The fabled death of advertising has been proclaimed for years. It seems the obituary for the entire industry is written in pencil, only to have the year changed with every ball drop in Times Square. If we may indulge in a platitude, creativity is the foundation of any agency. The ability to develop something compelling armed only with a blank slate and a brand is obviously valuable, but is it enough?

Is Sorrell primarily talking about boutique shops catching up with their big bully stepbrothers? Shouldn’t that be celebrated instead?