Sorrell: Adland’s “Paranoid” And Just Wants To “Maintain The Status Quo”

Sorrell: Adland’s “Paranoid” And Just Wants To “Maintain The Status Quo”

Sir Martin Sorrell has used the announcement of his new venture S4 Capital’s impressive half year figures to launch yet another veiled dig at his former muse, WPP.

Announcing that S4 was on track to double in size by 2021, Sorrell again lambasted the advertising industry – presumably WPP – for failing to move with the times and clients’ needs.

“Traditional advertising agencies are paranoid about incumbent relationships. They want to maintain status quo while their clients want to change it,” Sorrell said.

“There is a long way to go before we’ll (S4) get worried,” he said, before highlighting how S4’s growth had benefited from its “small beginnings”.

Reporting on its financials, S4 announced that it had booked £184 million ($A330 million) in business in the six months to June. To put that in perspective, S4 nabbed just £59m ($A105 million) in business for the full year in 2018.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £8.5m ($A15.2 million) in the first six months of 2019, which turned to a pre-tax profit of £6.5m ($A11.6 million) when adjusted for acquisition-related expenses and other costs.

It’s also claimed that S4 has increased its head count by an impressive 60 per cent in the past 12 months to 1375 employees.

However, Sorrell added that maintaining the strong numbers would prove a “tough hurdle” for the newly formed company, but he expected impressive numbers from its biggest heavy hitters MediaMonks and MightyHive.

“These results confirm the power and relevance of the faster, better, cheaper, digital-only unitary advertising model, with first party data fuelling content and programmatic,” Sorrell said.

“Now the task is to build significant scale organically, by broadening and deepening existing and new client relationships and adding resources through merger and acquisition.”

Commenting on S4’s performance, UK investment bank Liberum added: “The company continues to demonstrate very strong growth and has decided to prioritise top-line growth over profits, which is the right strategy given the opportunities.”




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