Publicis' Levy Stokes Fight With WPP's Sorrell Over Failed Prediction From the '90s

Last Updated Oct 28, 2009 12:39 PM EDT

Publicis boss Maurice Levy has again lashed out at WPP chief Martin Sorrell. The pair -- who control advertising's biggest agency rivals, such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather, respectively -- have a famously public hatred of each other.

To recap, in recent months Sorrell has called Levy an "amateur," "callous," and "hysterically funny." In return, Levy has called Sorrell "a little Englishman trying to stir things up" and "totally wrong" on corporate strategy issues. (See story ladder below for full details.) This time, in an interview with Israel's Haaretz, Levy chose to remind everyone that Sorrell was wrong in his prediction regarding Publicis' future. And yes, his anecdote is from more than 10 years ago, which tells you how long he's been nursing this:

Everyone remembers the quote of Martin Sorrell, when he was interviewed in the late 1990s. People were asking what will be the future of advertising and who would be the player in 2000, and he mentioned WPP, he mentioned Omnicom, he mentioned Interpublic.

And one [reporter] raised his hand and said, 'and what about Publicis?' He said: '"Well, they will be swallowed. They will be swallowed.'

We were not swallowed - we swallowed. So to have the right strategy at the right time is important."
OK, so you both "swallow." Thanks for clearing that up.