More advertisers to raise marketing budgets for 2003

LONDON - There is a small glimmer of hope for the advertising industry today as the latest Bellwether Report reveals that the number of clients planning to increase their marketing budgets this year is the highest since the last quarter of 2000.

The survey, compiled by NTC Research on behalf of the IPA, says that in the last quarter of 2002, twice as many companies set 2003 marketing budgets higher than reported a decrease.

This signalled improvement in marketing spend is the strongest reported since the end of 2000, but it is only an indication of what companies say they are budgeting -- not actual advertising spend.

Across the board, total current marketing budgets were revised downward for the second quarter in a row, but the revisions were not as dramatic as reported in the third quarter of 2002 or for the same period in 2001.

Media advertising budgets continued to look depressed, with only one in 10 of the companies surveyed saying they spent more during the last quarter of 2002. Looking ahead, one third of companies said that they had increased their media adspend budgets for 2003 compared with last year.

Bruce Haines, group CEO of Leo Burnett and president of the IPA, said: "Continued economic uncertainty both at home and abroad, together with disappointing consumer spending in quarter four, has led many to cut their marketing budgets in an effort to reduce costs.

"This being said, new budget setting for 2003 signals some positive growth, with over half of those surveyed increasing their marketing budgets in 2003 on 2002 in real terms."

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