The Dark Battle To Stay In The Black: Publicis Vs. WPP

By SuperSpy 

Who said it – Martin Sorell, the commander in chief of WPP, or Darth Vader?

A. “The real world won’t change for the better until 2010 when greed has overcome fear yet again.”
B. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
C. He could “smell the fear”.
D. “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further”


A. Sorrell at last week’s UBS conference in New York.
B. Darth Vader while choking Admiral Motti with dark side Jedi mind tricks.
C. Sorrell to newspapers about his flight to New York a few weeks ago.
D. Darth Vader speaking to Lando Calrissian.

Now, we’re sure that Maurice Levy, head of Publicis, loves this comparison. The two big shots have been trading nasty words for years and as the ad crisis continues, the pair have been fighting for press lines. Sorell and Levy are everywhere you look espousing their views in trademark style – Levy with lyricism; Sorrell with rationalism. Both CEOs are looking to bolster their image, which all leads straight to their stock price. This year, both stocks have taken a tumble. Publicis lost 30 percent of its valuation, while WPP nosed dived a big ol’ 47 percent so far.

The name of the game is now emerging markets and stealing share/clients from beneath competitors. The silver tongued Levy recently said that: “We have to adapt and do that better than others. We have to follow the motto of Obama: to change. This is always the motto of Publicis.”

Oh boy. Levy, along with everyone else, has been trotting out that one for years. Still, the upside to this serious depression is that perhaps, these big behemoths will actually have to, y’know, change. Hey. It could happen.

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