The age of Aquarius
WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell has created a stir in the international
advertising world with his bid for Tempus - par for the course
for his cool, calculating Aquarian nature
All of which is par for the course for Sorrell's cool,
calculating Aquarian nature. A key to the Water Carrier's
character is that nothing is personal. Egos may get punctured en
route, but once a course of action has been decided, an Aquarian
does whatever is necessary and keeps focused on essentials.
Sorrell's ingenuity shows in Mercury, planet of trade, which is
also in the sign of Aquarius, closely linked with independent
Uranus. This suggests a brilliant poker player, superb at setting
up smart, win-win deals, but with an occasional touch of the
absent-minded professor. The Mercury-Uranus connection makes a
person " very clever in certain special directions ... other
matters, outside the range of his interests, often do not enter
his vision at all; he is indifferent to them, and may seem very
stupid in relation to them. " (Astrological Aspects, Charles
Like many Aquarians, Sorrell is likely to be dogmatic and
insistent on doing his own thing, in his own way, in his own
time: " independent, sensitive, proud, and sometimes secretive...
the native almost always lives his own life and resents
interference very fiercely." (Carter)
But Mercury is also a planet of mischief and with no love lost
between Sorrell and Doug Flynn, the Tempus CEO, Sorrell
undoubtedly enjoys keeping the Tempus board on its toes. There is
little in the stars to connect the two outfits now, and the
astrology bears out the view of City cynics who think the bid is
a ploy. Tempus does appear to be heading for a major shake-up,
especially next February, due to the movement of its own
revolutionary, independent Uranus into the sign of Sagittarius.
However, since this sign is associated with foreign connections,
a foreign-based buyer such as Havas makes more symbolic sense
than a WPP take-over.
On the surface, then, Sorrell's masterplan is about to fall into
place, and with a high price for WPP's share of Tempus, he looks
all set for discussions with Aegis. The horoscopes of WPP and
Aegis are a likely match, and Sorrell would find it easy to work
with the Aegis team.
But there's a Jack in this Box. The current downturn in
advertising is symbolised by Saturn's opposition to Pluto in the
sky now. This was exact on August 5 and it is repeated on
November 2. It occurs again next year on May 26. This Saturn-
Pluto opposition is about to land on the Aegis horoscope like a
ton of bricks, and the end of November is an especially critical
So Aegis may not prove to be quite the attractive proposition that Sorrell thinks it is, and ironically Tempus, although erratic, could do a lot better. If he really wants Aegis, Sorrell should play a long game and watch closely how the Company bears up under the strain of the coming months. Yet as an Aquarian, insistent on doing things his way, he's unlikely to take kindly to advice from astrology.