Tuesday 5 March 2019 1:12 pm

Brands have ‘Netflix envy’ and need expertise of advertising agencies, says WPP boss

Brands are guilty of ‘Netflix envy’ and need the expertise of traditional advertising agencies, WPP chief executive Mark Read said today.

Speaking at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) conference, Read played down fears brands are increasingly moving their advertising in-house and defended the role of conventional ad shops.

Read more: Profits plunge at advertising giant WPP but shares rise

“I understand, in the world we live in today, clients’ desire for cost-effectiveness, proximity, greater understanding of technology, and to some extent how some people have a sort of Netflix envy,” he said, referring to the streaming giant’s vast in-house marketing budget.

“All I would say is that in my view a well-managed agency relationship should bring value to clients.”

The comments come amid a rise in the number of brands bringing their advertising in-house in a bid to simplify the process and take greater control over their campaigns.

But Read, who has unveiled a radical transformation plan at WPP, said he fears clients are “distracted by tactics and execution and lose sight of ideas and consumers”.

“There’s a real value to working with us – the insights we can share with clients across categories,” he added. “I don’t think it is as easily done inside clients.”

Read’s staunch defence of WPP comes a week after the firm reported a 30 per cent decline in profit before tax as it battles with challenging market conditions in the US.

Today the president of the Advertising Association (AA), Keith Weed, also warned the industry has become preoccupied with data and must focus on creating high-quality campaigns.

“We must move on from learning to build around data to get back to what we used to do so well, which is great advertising,” he said.

Read more: WPP sells stake in ‘Davos in the Desert’ consulting firm

Weed unveiled the AA’s new white paper on halting the decline of public trust in advertising in the UK. The five-step plan includes a commitment to ensure consumers are not bombarded with unwanted adverts and to ensure campaigns are well-targeted.

“A brand without trust is just a product and advertising without trust is just noise”, Weed said.