Of all the international media networks currently struggling to
overcome politics and create cohesion, WPP’s MindShare should be one of
the better equipped.
While many other communications groups boast unwieldy management
hierarchies, WPP’s chief executive, Martin Sorrell, provides the sort of
powerful focal point that allows for quick decisions and decisive
What’s more, Sorrell made it clear three years ago that his J. Walter
Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather agencies must join forces to create a joint
global media entity.
Yet MindShare’s history to date shows that the agency has been beset
with its own cultural and political issues. Powerful agency egos have
been allowed to stand in the way of progress and Sorrell has not stepped
in to knock heads together and drive through co-operation.
So there is still no MindShare in America, where JWT and O&M have fought
the creation of a pooled media resource.
Then last week Sorrell appointed MediaVest’s worldwide media chief,
Irwin Gotlieb, as the new worldwide chairman of MindShare. On the face
of it, Gotlieb’s background as one of the US’s most successful TV
negotiators seems at odds with MindShare’s positioning as a creative and
strategic media operation.
But Gotlieb’s task will require as much brawn as brain, and that’s why
he’s the right man for the job. He will have a fight on his hands to
deliver MindShare in North America and to bulldoze agency politics
around the world, but he is known for his steely determination and now,
finally, someone has been empowered at the highest level to drive the
Gotlieb’s appointment underlines the fact that, as far as Sorrell is
concerned, JWT and O&M have dragged their heels for long enough.
Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option.