Brexit: the industry view

Leading executives from the marketing and advertising industries share their views on the EU referendum result.

Brexit: the industry view

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne

Executive director of customer, marketing and M&, Marks & Spencer

I have expressed concerns about the resulting period of uncertainty and the risks it represents for consumer spending here in the UK and in the EU. The advertising industry has seen dramatic shifts in recent years – this adds another layer of complexity as we all plan for the important year-end and beyond. I remain positive because of the resiliency of the UK economy. Short term, we have to stay focused on the great work we do for our customers every day and stay flexible as we adapt to this new world. This vote calls for an urgent wake-up call in Brussels, where a solid rethinking of governance and priorities is long overdue.

Sir Martin Sorrell

Chief executive, WPP

The uncertainty will be considerable and will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity. This is not good news, to say the least. However, we must deploy that stiff upper lip and make the best of it. Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, WPP has not. We are as European as ever, and will become even more so.

Maurice Lévy

Chairman and chief executive, Publicis Groupe

As a very sincere European and somebody who believes in the dream of Europe, I feel personally extremely sad. It will have serious consequences in the future, first and foremost for the UK. I support our people in the UK and stand by them. Clearly, I will show that we are there for the long term.

Moray MacLennan

Worldwide chief executive, M&C Saatchi

We need to look at how we get on the front foot and get across the message that we’re an open and inviting country. And we also need to move quickly to reassure young people who should have voted and didn’t that this isn’t the end, that there is a positive future for them and that they need to engage and work towards finding new opportunities.

Andrew Warner

Vice-president, marketing, Monster

We won’t be making any knee-jerk reactions. The primary effect in the short term is uncertainty, which is inevitable. It leads to some operational decisions for the UK being put on ice. It is too early to say whether marketing budgets will be cut and it will likely vary by company. For overseas-based businesses, which budget in other currencies, a sustained fall in the value of the pound will cut budgets in real terms. Should the knock-on effects of Brexit lead to recessionary pressures, then marketing is likely to be one of the first budgets many firms will trim. Others, however, will see opportunity and may invest to gain share.

Amanda Mackenzie

Incoming chief executive, Business in the Community

From the cost of goods and services to the ability to invest, until things settle down everyone will proceed cautiously. Funding decisions we were waiting on have been delayed. So we need people with courage to think long term. I would be amazed if it doesn’t lead to budgets being cut. But, of course, depending on your business, it may be the time to invest. Will there be a flight to buy British in the UK? If you are a travel company, it is now very cheap for tourists to visit the UK, so you may market abroad. If you are a European supplier, you may want to invest to ensure that demand for your products remains in the UK.

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