Michael Roth: IPG will not 'do a Havas' and pull Google spend

Interpublic chairman and chief executive Michael Roth lamented the duopoly of Google and Facebook at an Advertising Week Europe session today but said IPG would "not do a Havas" and freeze advertising on Google.

Ad Week Europe: Michael Roth (right) Interpublic's chairman and chief executive
Ad Week Europe: Michael Roth (right) Interpublic's chairman and chief executive

Roth also reminded the audience that Havas Media Group UK "pulled out of Google display advertising and not search". 

Havas Media Group UK has pulled its entire media spend from Google's display network and YouTube. The UK government and several advertisers including Channel 4, L'Oréal, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have also stopped spending with Google-owned YouTube.

Roth said the issue impacted two of IPG’s clients, and although it was an uncomfortable position for the advertisers to be in, "we are discussing with Google and not pulling out our ad dollars just yet. We have chosen to hold them accountable and not pull out of either YouTube or Google search."

IPG, he added, had been assured by the tech giant that it is making amends.

Roth dismissed the question that he was being naive. He said: "We are not giving a free pass to Google. Both Google and Facebook have advisory councils, which include both agencies and clients and it makes economic sense for them to listen to us."

However, Roth refused to be drawn into any conversations about "how long" he would give Google to hold itself accountable and become fully transparent.

Lamenting the demise of MySpace and the duopoly of Facebook and Google, Roth said: "We really could do with some competition and history tells us that it will happen sometime soon. I can remember when MySpace was the player in the market.

"Snapchat is probably a potential to break that duopoly (of Google and Facebook) but it still has a way to go in terms of monetising."

He also urged both Facebook and Google to take responsibility for the content on their sites and use filters that can govern the quality of content they distribute, rather than treat their businesses as "pipes" that simply pump out news and ideas.

On the changing landscape of advertising, Roth said consultancies are not yet ready to disrupt the industry. Pointing to the Accenture and Karmarama deal, he said consultancies are not fully equipped to deliver an integrated approach "and not quite at a point where they can compete with us".

He continued: "Maybe on a piecemeal basis, and perhaps when, five years from now, they were to buy a holding company. But not yet."

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