WPP Boss Says Huge Ads Boost on the Way; Games Winner: Sir Martin Agrees Beijing Olympics Could Lift Ad Spend by [Pounds Sterling]980m

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK GOODWAY

SIR MARTIN SORRELL, chief executive of WPP, the world's second-largestagency, today forecast that 2008 will be even better than 2007 for theadvertising industry.

He said the effects of the "maxi quadrennial", with the Beijing Olympics, USPresidential election and, to a lesser extent, the Euro 2008 footballchampionships, would give a huge boost to an industry that is still growingstrongly.

But he added that the more significant issue is the outcome of the US election.

He said: "A more important concern should be the impact that any new USadministration will have on 2009when they have seen the government's books and will be tempted to dispense anypolitically unpleasant medicine to the electorate early in the eight-yearpolitical cycle." Sorrell said that while the rapidly growing areas of theworld's economy, such as China and India, are now less dependent on the US, "itis still true that when the US sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold".

In the shorter term, he said, the effects of the American subprime mortgagecrisis and subsequent credit crunch had as yet had "little or no effect onspending levels across the board". He added that any real effects were unlikelyto be felt until WPP finalises its internal budget predictions and knows itsclients' plans early in 2008.

It was "too early to call", he said. But pointed out that, of WPP's top 50clients, only three are in financial services.

Sorrell declined to stick his neck out on the exact positive effects of nextyear's quadrennial events. …