"Singapore and Hong Kong are moving backwards, but China, South Korea and India are going forward," said Richard Pinder, Hong Kong-based regional director, Asia Pacific, for Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett Co. "Overall, our billings and revenue over the next year will be pretty flat, Single-digit growth at best."
"Clients were very cautious when doing their 2002 plans, and our first forecast for 2002 was down. Now, we are starting to see a comeback," said Eric Rosencranz, president, Asia Pacific, of Grey Global Group, Hong Kong
In Europe, real growth won't be back until next year, but the slide is slowing. In the U.K., for instance, TV ad spending fell 10% in the first quarter of 2002, but grew by 3% in the second quarter, according to the Zenith Optimedia Group forecast issued July 1. The U.K. and France are each likely to see ad spending drop about 1% this year, compared to more than 4% last year, according to Zenith, which is owned jointly by Publicis Groupe and Cordiant Communications Group.
Germany, Europe's largest ad market, is farther from recovery, with a fall of 3.7% forecast for 2002. But even that drop implies a better second half in a disastrous year; German ad spending during the first four months of this year ran 6.1% below the same period in 2001.
Latin America, usually the region with the wildest swings, is being dragged down by Argentina. The region's biggest market, Brazil, is even more volatile than usual as there is international concern about political instability should the left-wing Workers' Party candidate, Jose Ignacio "Lula" da Silva win the October presidential election. In a showdown between two ad titans, Omnicom Group's DM9 DDB President Nizan Guanaes is handling the ad campaign for government candidate Jose Serra, while Mr. Guanaes' former partner Duda Mendonca, now a political advertising specialist, steers Lula's candidacy.
Said Javier Llusa, president of Prax Holdings, the holding company for Sao Paulo, Brazil-based agencies W/Brasil and Lew Lara: "There is really nothing that indicates any growth in ad spending, so if we keep the [already disastrous] 2001 numbers, we can prepare fireworks and champagne to celebrate."