Magazine article ADWEEK

Marketers and Agencies Split on 2012 Prospects: A New Poll by RSW/US Finds That Brand Leaders Are Seeing More Economic Red Flags in the New Year Than Their Agency Peers and Are Adjusting Their Media Spend Accordingly

Magazine article ADWEEK

Marketers and Agencies Split on 2012 Prospects: A New Poll by RSW/US Finds That Brand Leaders Are Seeing More Economic Red Flags in the New Year Than Their Agency Peers and Are Adjusting Their Media Spend Accordingly

Article excerpt

Marketing leaders--in contrast to their more buoyant agency brethren--generally seem more cautious than optimistic about growth in the new year. And, of course, who would know better than those who control the purse strings?

The latest illustration of the disconnect between marketers and agencies regarding the industry's prospects for 2012 is a new poll from RSW/US in which a greater percentage of agency types than marketers predict growth in the economy and marketer spending.

When asked, for example, if the economy is on the uptick, 65 percent of the 114 agencies that participated said yes, compared to just 41 percent of the 100-plus marketers. Also, the percentage of marketers who answered no (35 percent) was more than twice that of agencies (17 percent). The marketers included Pfizer, Reckitt Benckiser, Frontier Airlines and 1-800-Flowers, and agencies McCann Erickson, Ogilvy & Mather, StruckAxiom and Slingshot.

Given that 2011 represented improvement from 2010, some shops feel that the growth spurt can only continue, said Mark Sneider, president of RSW/US, a Cincinnati-based consultancy. But with so many factors beyond their control--including unemployment, real estate stagnation, the European contagion and rising commodity costs--such expectations appear unrealistic. "There's some irrational enthusiasm that may be going on with some agencies, and it needs to be tempered somewhat," Sneider told Adweek. "Maybe they're wearing the rose-colored glasses because they're forgetting where they came from."

Not all agency CEOs are that upbeat, however. Some, including Deutsch LA CEO Mike Sheldon and Merkley CEO Alex Gellert, recently predicted lumpy, uneven industry growth at best. …

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