Sorrell cautious about upturn

If you want to be soothed and reassured about the current economic situation, don’t turn to Sir Martin Sorrell.  He tells it like he sees it, and he doesn’t approve of sugar-coating.

Sorrell is the founder and chief executive officer of WPP, the largest advertising group in the world.

Since advertising is probably the first expense to be cut back in an economic downturn, it is one of the main indicators of the current and future state of economic health in changing times, and Sorrell’s recent remarks are of interest to everyone in the advertising industry.  He feels that the worst is over and the industry is stabilizing, but he only expects to break even in 2010.

Events such as the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the South Africa football World Cup and the Shanghai World Expo are all big money-makers for the advertising industry, and so are the U.S. midterm congressional elections in the world’s biggest advertising market.

However, Sorrell figures that even if the second half of 2010 shows a revenue surge, it will only serve to balance out the lousy first half, not necessarily indicating strong growth for the industry in general.

Sorrell’s caution in this regard is practically a trademark; after the dotcom crash in the first two years of the 2000’s, he disagreed with other industry forecasters who predicted a quick rebound, and he was correct.  At present he is saying that though the worst may be over, a full recovery is going to take some time.