Sorrell sanguine on questions of recession

WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell seems to be cautiously optimistic about the fortunes of the marketing services world next year.

Having apparently jumped out of his infamous bathtub (he notably compared the likely economic recovery of the market to the shape of a bath), the WPP chief executive warns of the dangers of a possible US downturn causing the rest of the world to ‘catch a cold’, though his concerns are levelled more at the industry’s fortunes in 2009 than in 2008.

Talking exclusively to Design Week, Sorrell suggests that, should the hankies need to come out, it won’t be as bad as catching the flu’.

‘The big question for 2008 will be whether there is a recession in the US or not, and what will be the implications for the rest of the world. While we may not catch flu any more when America sneezes, we’re still likely to catch a cold,’ he says. ‘My own view continues to be that the real challenge will be in 2009 when a new US president will have to deal with a weak dollar and twin deficits.

Whichever candidate wins, faced with a potential eight years of power, any unpleasant medicine will be doled out to the electorate quickly in 2009 in the form of tax increases and/or reductions in government spending,’ he concludes. He adds that geography and technology will remain the key drivers for the marketing services industry in 2008.

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