Who’d be a European these days, especially in the Eurozone?
WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell for one seems to regret it, describing the advertising outlook in Europe as “depressing” at the recent International Advertising Association conference in Moscow.
By contrast advertising spend is recovering strongly in the US and positively surging ahead in the Asia Pacific region. There, driven by phenomenal growth in China and India, TV adspend has overtaken Europe for the first time according to figures from Informa.
Asia Pacific TV adspend rose sharply to $27.9bn in 2009, overtaking Europe on $26.7bn. The US remains comfortably ahead for the moment on $38.9bn but, at this rate, that might only last for a few years.
Europe, of course, was hammered much harder by the banking crisis and the subsequent recession than Asia Pacific and its recovery is slow, weighed down by deficit problems in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain and an arguably overvalued Euro.
As for the UK, not in the Eurozone of course, its recovery looks to be faster than that in Europe as a whole although it has a stonking deficit to cope with too. This will result in higher taxes under the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, whatever it says about cutting expenditure rather than raising taxes.
In Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US spend on TV has been hit by the growth of online advertising and, over the next few years, this may have an effect too on Asia Pacific as rising prosperity and standards of education result in a bigger online audience.
But the message for agencies and agency creatives could hardly be more obvious: if TV commercials are your thing, head East.