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Martin Sorrell predicts Q4 recovery but warns spending through recession is 'nonsense'

Campaign 02 Apr 2020 07:34

Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital and former chief executive of WPP, is bullish that marketing services will enjoy a healthy rebound in the final quarter of the year, although he argues that the old adage of brands "spending their way through a recession" no longer applies.

He expects all parts of marketing services to take a significant hit in the short term, with the possible exception of socially benefical or purpose-driven programmes.

Sorrell told Campaign sister title PRWeek: "I think Q2, which starts today, will be terrible. Q3 will be slightly better, but we’ll see a sharp recovery in Q4; brands will let rip. This will be a V-shaped recession."

But Sorrell, 75, said those arguing brands should spend their way through a recession were talking "nonsense" this time. "What we will see is an acceleration of what packaged-goods firms were already doing. They will cut budgets and shift to digital. We realise that people are at home talking to each other via digital technology. They are also using home deliveries as never before.

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Martin Sorrell