Sir Martin Sorrell: “Adland’s Like Burning Man, There Needs To Be Radical Change”

Sir Martin Sorrell: “Adland’s Like Burning Man, There Needs To Be Radical Change”

Sir Martin Sorrell has likened the current state of the advertising industry to the famed Burning Man festival that pops up every year in the Nevada desert.

The hedonistic festival, renowned for its creativity and lack of inhibitions by its attendees, is similar to the change that’s currently sweeping the advertising world, he believed.

Sorrell, fresh from yesterday’s announcement that his S4 Capital firm had bought the programmatic ad firm MightyHive for $200 million, told Business Insider’s IGNITION Conference in New York
yesterday the he’d attended Burning Man on three occasions and said that “there has to be a radical change” in the advertising industry.

“There’s a strange sort of analogy between our industry and what you see at Burning Man. What it symbolises to me is creative disruption.

“Some people refer to it evolutionary … I think it’s revolutionary,” he said. “The pace at which it is happening is so intense and so quick, that it’s revolutionary, and that’s one of the things that I experienced at WPP.”

Adding to yesterday’s $200 million purchase of MightyHive, in July S4 snapped up the Dutch production firm MediaMonks for a cool $470 million.

Commenting on the two acquisitions, Sorrell told the conference that its “acid test” would be whether or not the combined two could deliver significant differentiation for its clients

“The acid test of S4 will not be acquiring MediaMonks, not acquiring or MightyHive … it will be whether the combination works effectively and whether it has correctly analysed what clients want,” Sorrell added.

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