Bellwether optimism – no double-dipper, but interest rate rise may be on the way

Good news on the economic front, as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising unveils the latest quarterly results of its authoritative Bellwether survey.

True, marketing spend fell for the ninth quarter in succession, but the rate of decline is the slowest yet. Some sectors, such as digital and direct marketing, even showed weak signs of growth. Apparently, budgets have been set higher for this year than last, and marketers are more optimistic than they have been for five years. Which emboldened Rory Sutherland, IPA chairman and vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, to forecast an end to the recession.

So trebles all round? Well, not necessarily. IPA director-general Hamish Pringle tells me there may be a sting in the tail of this dying recession.

No, not a double-dipper: it’s not that bad. But he has seen this sort of marcoms recovery pattern before (like me, he sports a few grey hairs), and almost invariably it is the prelude to an imminent uptick in interest rates. So expect a hike earlier than the end of this year (though not, I suspect, before the general election). Pringle cautions his prediction falls short of being scientific. It’s a bit like counting the number of recruitment advertising pages in the second calendar issue of Marketing Week and gauging the economic recovery accordingly (a good indicator, but not infallible). The magazine was, by the way, gratifyingly plump in that respect.

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