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There are still some dark clouds on the horizon despite sunny IPA Bellwether Report

The UK’s IPA has produced its latest Bellwether Report and, as has been the case recently, it’s full of sickening optimism with clients saying they’re going to spend more and seeming pretty happy about it (you can read an account of the findings here).

The most interesting pointer in it is research company Markit’s prediction that adspend in the UK will grow by 4.2 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent in 2016.

Such forecasts tend to be revised, obviously, often to the point where you wonder why they bothered in the first place (although Markit is better than most, including the UK government’s Office of Budget Responsibility).

But there are a few dark clouds on the horizon.
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1/ We could end up with a right old mess in the UK when the election is done and dusted. Instead of a pretty stable coalition we could see the biggest party (most likely Labour) in a minority government supported by a ‘confidence and supply’ deal (vote by vote) with the Scottish Nationalists. Just the kind of thing businesses hate.

2/ Greece could still be forced to exit the Eurozone. The latter will survive of course but banks and others will take another big hit.

3/ No-one can predict what Russia will get up to next.

4/ Chinese growth is slowing sharply and there could well be an asset crash. Lots of Chinese property (and there’s an awful lot of shiny new property in China) is overvalued, as are many Chinese companies still dependent on cosy state deals.

Only the first of these is a UK-only factor, of course, but advertising, marketing and media in the UK – like the UK stock market and the London property market – is an international businesses these days.

Then there’s the ‘grey swan,’ as WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell might put it, of advertisers and legislators taking a much closer look at where agencies’ income comes from and where it ends up. Actually let’s rephrase that: a bloody great black swan with a nasty disposition.

Well let’s hope the IPA and Markit are right and we’re heading off to the sunlit uplands…

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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