Massive negative reader feedback to a photo-illustration of WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell is not why Conde Nast pulled the plug on Portfolio Magazine. The sour economy killed the business/lifestyle mag.
Matthew Malone interviewed Sorrell at WPP’s New York headquarters. The chief fittingly sat “in front of a painting of a knight on horseback trampling an adversary.” Take that, Maurice.
Some interview takeaways:
• WPP, the pride of Dublin, isn’t cutting prices much, though “there have been one or two competitors who’ve cut their prices quite violently in order to win business.”
• Omnicom is WPP’s strongest competitor Interpublic “is in a weak position,” but stronger than last year.
• Publicis Groupe, if it gets the chance, would love to buy IPG.
• “Brand America” is friendlier under President Obama. That could change.
• Students should learn Chinese and Portuguese (Brazil is not doing badly).
The photo-illustration is what makes the article click. This blogger couldn’t begin to fathom a similar photo featuring Omnicom’s Wren or Interpublic’s Roth standing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. It takes a bigger than life person like Sorrell or Publicis Maestro Maurice Levy, the toast of Paris, to pull off the photo spread.
An idea for Sorrell: get reprint rights from Portfolio and distribute the photo-illustration to WPP’s 109K staffers as a year-end gift. A personalized autograph would be a nice touch.