Technology has upended the world’s advertising giants

Technology has upended the world’s advertising giants

IN BUILDING the world’s largest advertising company over the past 30 years, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, has weathered two recessions and survived a global financial crisis. His firm nearly went bankrupt in the early 1990s. Now he must make his hardest advertising pitch yet, to convince the corporate world that image-making agencies like his are not dinosaurs on the brink of extinction.

The world’s advertising giants are struggling to adapt to a landscape suddenly dominated by the duopoly of Google and Facebook. Some of their biggest clients, such as Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever, are also being disrupted, in their case by smaller online brands and by Amazon. They are cutting spending on advertising services, and also building more capabilities in-house. Consultancies with digital expertise such as Deloitte and Accenture are competing with agencies, arguing that they know how to connect with consumers better, and more cheaply, using data, machine learning and app…Continue reading

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