Will clients become braver creatively?

For seasoned followers of the IPA Bellwether Report, the most recent study, released earlier this month, seemed to offer the most tangible evidence that things are finally looking up for the embattled marketing services sector.

While Bellwether quite rightly has its critics, who accuse it of presenting its findings in a rather vague and non-absolute way that belies the complexity of economic recovery, the "revisions upward" of marketers’ budgets were nonetheless seized upon as good news.

And given that the post-banking-crisis austerity measures have piled on years of misery for many individuals and institutions, anything that counts as positive should be held closely and cherished. If – as all will surely hope – these promising yet still remarkably tender green shoots of recovery go on to create something rather more sturdy, then Bellwether may yet prove to be the answer to a maiden’s prayers.

And if we are to believe those soothsayers’ affirmations, are we to conclude that, in the light of Bellwether, we can therefore expect to see increased confidence translating into braver clients buying braver work?



Richard Arscott, managing director, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

"Clients tend to get the work they want and the relative ‘bravery’ of that work is driven more by their own fundamental faith in creativity as a tool for their business than by the economic conditions of a particular moment. Our role is to continue to expound the value of creativity – the unfair competitive advantage it can provide – whatever the conditions, and to guard against the increasingly prevalent yet misguided belief that ‘brave’ work should always be tested small-scale first. We must continue to encourage clients to believe in the power of the big and the brave in capturing the popular imagination."

Russell Ramsey 305

Creative head

Russell Ramsey, executive creative director, JWT London

"I hope so. Although I don’t think marketing directors ever think they’re being brave or safe.
"They look at things in terms of: ‘Are they right or are they wrong?’ Some are enlightened and some are inherently conservative.The state of the economy doesn’t really affect that. What will happen is there will be more opportunities around for agencies and clients to make the most of.
"Hopefully, these opportunities will also filter out to the wider world. From what I’m told, London’s production companies, with many talented people, haven’t noticed much of an uplift so far."

Giovannini Cheryl-305


Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive, Ogilvy & Mather London

"Many factors are having an impact on clients’ decisions and Bellwether is reflecting this. The turmoil in the eurozone has resulted in many multinational clients shifting their marketing money out of Europe and into the UK, where we’ve seen revenue grow faster than in China over the past year. At the same time, marketers are increasingly seeking solutions that can run across multiple territories.
So, we will increasingly see big, truly integrated brand platforms being developed that can be executed across markets, channels and media types.
"And clients’ bravery will grow as the economy in the UK shows signs of proper recovery."

Roalfe Mark-305

Creative head

Mark Roalfe, executive creative director and chairman, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

"I think brave clients have probably always been brave and the economic climate may have forced them to be even more creative with limited funds. However, the downturn has made some clients clearly very nervous, probably reflected most of all in the amount of new business, or lack of it, that has been moving round in the industry. What the Bellwether Report does show, however, is that there are signs of confidence returning – and I think that seems to be reflected by the amount of new business on the move. Can we take this to mean there are signs of recovery, leading to braver clients and better work? I hope so."