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US Ad Growth Is Like 'Emerging Market': Sorrell

The United States has exhibited emerging-market growth this year in advertising, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, the world’s largest advertising agency, told CNBC Friday.

“The surprise to us in the first nine months of the year in our industry has been the strength of the US market, the US and Canada, but the US particularly so, and traditional media,” said Sorrell. The US economy at $14 trillion is nearly three times bigger than China, at $5 trillion, he added.

“In fact, America is in almost behaving like an emerging, or faster growing, market, growing at about 8 or 9 percent, against the average for the company . At the end of September, we crossed 4 percent growth, which was the growth we were forecasting for the year as a whole.

“It’s been pretty good, and driven by America growing about twice as fast. That can’t continue with the GDP growing at about 2 percent.”

Sorrell said the uncertainty in the market is about what lies ahead next year. WPP’s clients, even large multinationals, he added, are holding back their budgets for 2011 until they are clear about the impact of unemployment, stimulus, quantitative easing and taxation policy.