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WPP Group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell reckons that the global marketing services sector is starting to ‘climb out of the bath’ in terms of business prospects (News, DW 28 August). What is your view of this prediction for your particular area of exp

‘It remains a buyers’ market for design. Clients are increasingly sophisticated and are still being rather cautious. But there are signs of improvement, and Designhouse is predicting a positive long-term outlook for the first time this year. If we are indeed “climbing out of the bath”, the slope will probably be a very gentle one and it may prove quite slippery.’

Lavinia Culverhouse, Managing director, Designhouse

‘I’m not as comfortable predicting future business prospects as Sorrell is. But he could well be right, and I really do hope that he is. But in San Francisco [where our sister office is located] the economy has been on its knees for several years, and we’ve been hearing people regularly predict the end of the recession since before they’d even admit we were actually in one. Rosy predictions are good for share prices. As for Government spending reviving the economy, is Sorrell thinking of running for office?’

Bruce Duckworth, Designer, Turner Duckworth

‘Yes. No doubt about it; more work, more opportunity, and even a few business lunches, but let’s tread carefully. We need to keep a close eye on that bottom line – sandwiches all round then.’

Daljit Singh, Director, Digit

‘We have seen more of a shallow puddle than a bath, but I agree the forward picture looks extremely positive, whatever the metaphor may be. International business confidence is growing and so is recognition of product design as a powerfully effective brand expression tool belonging at the heart of marketing strategy. But will this new wave make a large splash when it climbs out of the bath?’

Gus Desbarats, Chairman, Alloy Total Product Design

‘If, by “climbing out of the bath”, Sorrell means that business prospects are improving then I would certainly agree with his statement. It has definitely been a long soak in this particular bath and we have certainly got a bit wrinkled while being in there. But now we’ve been towelled dry, moisturised and have started putting on the hair and make-up.’

Mike Horseman, Managing director, The Open Agency

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