Interview with Sir Martin Sorrell

Now Ukraine is going through difficult times. Creative agencies are fighting for smaller budgets and profession of advertising man is losing its prestige. Do you have a message to them? What is the formula for survival?
Ukraines particular circumstances have, of course, led to a decline in the economy over the past two to three years, and we’re only now beginning to see the first signs of recovery. The rebound, I’m afraid, will be long and arduous. Market reforms and the creation of a favourable investment environment that attracts foreign and domestic entrepreneurs are the keys to creating wealth, jobs and opportunities. Against this background, the advertising profession has needed to downsize for survival. However, when growth in consumer spending returns and economic green-shoots begin to sprout, the demand for creative agencies will return and the prestige and success will be captured by those in the profession who stay ahead of the trends and offer clients the best solutions. I am bullish about the future of our business in Ukraine over the long term.

Ukraine never got a [Cannes] lion. What is your vision about ukraine become more relevant to world’s trends?
The push for creative excellence and effectiveness, which Cannes recognises and rewards, comes from clients – and must be matched by agencies. The most successful at Cannes are those who place importance on developing a client-agency partnership that fosters creative approaches. World trends are rapidly changing, especially as technology, data and content have become the major drivers of creativity and innovation. Virtual Reality experiences and Artificial Intelligence were among the main topics at Cannes this year. For Ukrainians to win at Cannes, they need to be present, stay ahead of the trends and offer clients creative and unique applications that solve their business objectives. It’s all within reach.
Your highlights from this year festival and recommendation to pay attention 
For me the highlight of the festival was the Cannes Debate, when the CEOs of the world’s six biggest communications services groups took the stage together to pledge their support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It was a proud moment that grew out of my interview with Al Gore at last year’s event – one that showed that even the fiercest of competitors can put aside their differences to serve a common interest. The Cannes Debate was just the start – the “Common Ground” campaign will continue throughout the year and we will try to persuade clients to get on board too. Other personal highlights included WPP’s sixth consecutive Creative Holding Company of the Year award, which is a great testament to the talent and success of our people all around the world, and my interviews with Oliver Stone, Jack Dorsey, Lachlan Murdoch, Piers Morgan, Tom Friedman and Wyclef Jean. Where else, other than Cannes, do you get such an eclectic line-up?
The low point of the festival came on the same day as the Cannes Debate – the UK’s referendum decision to leave the European Union. Deeply disappointing and economically damaging it may be, but while the UK voted to leave Europe, WPP did not. We will be more European than ever, as we redouble our focus on growth in Mainland Europe.

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