Chinese trade negotiators suddenly canceled a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week.Marketsread more
President Trump also said he is "not looking for a partial deal" with Beijing, moving away from his suggestion last week that he would consider an "interim deal."Politicsread more
Progress on trade talks will determine how far market will move above new highs.Trader Talk with Bob Pisaniread more
For investors taking a breather from the chaos in August, buckle up as the market is about go crazy again, Goldman Sachs warned.Marketsread more
The Patriots released Antonio Brown only 11 days after signing the wide receiver.Sportsread more
The Wall Street Journal's report came as a top Ukraine official said President Donald Trump "is looking" for Ukraine officials to investigate business dealings of Biden's son...Politicsread more
Gun maker Colt announced Thursday that it will halt its production of AR-15 rifles for civilian sales, but the news might not be as exciting for gun control advocates as it...Guns and Weaponsread more
As thousands of people across the world participate in the Global Climate Strike, several Democratic presidential candidates have shared how they will take aggressive action...Scienceread more
With "tariff man" President Trump waging a tariff war and Democratic candidates pushing against big international deals, free trade has become politically homeless, writes...2020 Electionsread more
Canadian trade union Unifor said roughly 4,500 of its members have been temporarily laid off because of the GM strike so far.Autosread more
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018, Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps stemming from an investigation into its developer ecosystem.Technologyread more
Manufacturers don't have the direct relationships with shoppers they thought they would with the advent of the internet — it's platforms like Facebook that are in control, according to Martin Sorrell, executive chair of marketing group S4 Capital.
Traditionally, companies such as Unilever sell their products to stores such as Walmart, which then sell those goods on to consumers. With the advent of the internet, manufacturers imagined they would be able to move towards selling direct online, saving money and gathering information on shoppers in the process.
Speaking to CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday, Sorrell explained that taking over some of the retailers' role had not happened for ad agency clients.
"So, in the old days, the relationship with consumers was controlled by Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour," he said. Then, "the clients thought that when the web came along, they'd have the opportunity to relate directly to consumers. And the web gave them an opportunity — manufacturers — to go straight to you and I as a consumer."
In response, some manufacturers are investing in companies that do sell direct online. Sorrell cited Unilever's $1 billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club in 2016 as an example of how manufacturers are trying to have more control over consumer relationships.
"But essentially, that direct-to-consumer relationship didn't mature. So what clients are concerned about, when Unilever buys a Dollar Shave Club, or when Coca-Cola buys a Costa, or when Nestle buys the Starbucks (coffee products) franchise … what they are really doing is trying to exercise control on that relationship and that's the key."
Large companies are at risk of losing out in the digital age, which has made it easier and cheaper for smaller businesses to operate and grow.
"Legacy companies … are in a very, very difficult position, the speed of the digital transformation … the scale of the change and the speed of the change is so great, that very few legacy companies can accommodate it and particularly in a listed situation," Sorrell said.
Sorrell applied this to agency groups, such as WPP, which he exited in April 2018. "I think it's very hard for the management of WPP to make the structural change necessary without ruffling (the media), or analysts starting to criticize very heavily the impact on the short-term profitability. Making the structural change in a short period of time is very difficult."
WPP announced the sale of research group Kantar to Bain Capital in July as part of its turnaround plan. Sorrell said S4 Capital was on track to double in size by 2021, as the group announced its earnings.