Sorrell: mobile is the future

ADVERTISING boss Martin Sorrell has told the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that mobile advertising has become the most important trend in the industry.

The WPP chief executive said traditional advertising such as TV had fared well this year as brands increase their spending in the wake of the recession.

However he pointed to the exponential growth of internet-enabled mobile phones as key to the industry’s future.

He said: “Mobile is the cheapest form of access to the internet.

“Over 600m people use China Mobile and 500m are on some Indian networks.

“While the PC is not non-existent yet, it is a small proportion [of what agencies will be doing online].”

He also warned that advertising agencies must become more tech-savvy if they are to offer a viable service to their clients.

“We need to understand how the pipes work at the companies we are working with.

“Our industry has moved away from the Mad Men stereotype to the application of technology.

“We used to perform three fundamental tasks: work with our clients to develop strategy, execute the strategy and distribute it.

“While we still perform these functions we are now far more focused on the application of technology and how we can use it to interact with clients and their customers.”

And said he expects innovation to shift from America and Western Europe to emerging countries over the next five years, with India, Brazil and China leading the charge.

“This year’s CES was more about incremental change – more over-the-top TVs and more tablets.

“I think this will continue. But the major change over the next five years will be geographical. The next big innovations could be coming from Bangalore, Sau Paolo or Beijing – the world is changing dramatically and they will be the big players.”