OPINION: Knighthood reflects a new maturity

At the end of a year in which advertising mourned the death of David Ogilvy, one of its greatest exponents and wisest sages, the knighthood bestowed on Martin Sorrell is poignantly ironic.

At the end of a year in which advertising mourned the death of

David Ogilvy, one of its greatest exponents and wisest sages, the

knighthood bestowed on Martin Sorrell is poignantly ironic.



For years, influential industry figures lobbied for Ogilvy to be

similarly honoured, but to no avail. Not even his vision and eloquence

could overcome the perception that advertising was too immature to be

regarded as a significant contributor to the UK economy.



This is not to suggest that the honouring of WPP’s chief executive is

not much deserved. On the contrary, it is appropriate that what was

denied to Ogilvy should go to the boss of the company owning the agency

he founded. Indeed, it is an indication of how much the communications

industry has moved from the periphery into the mainstream.



Much of this progress is because of the famously workaholic Sorrell.



A Cambridge graduate with a Harvard MBA, Sorrell’s first contact with

the world of advertising was between 1977 and 1986 when he was the group

finance director of Saatchi & Saatchi.



After 14 years at the helm of WPP, he has experienced the highs of the

business - and the lows, thanks to the recession and the realisation

that he paid too much for Ogilvy & Mather in 1984.



Overall, he has helped to force advertising to take itself seriously as

a business and ensured that clients and financial institutions do so

too.



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