WARC/AA report reaction: Cracking the curate’s egg

work 2Another day, another forecast for the advertising and marketing industry to try to digest without choking. Yet again, the WARC/AA report is a classic “curate’s egg”, showing that despite recovering from Covid the sector is now facing more uncertainty from the economic meltdown.

The report draws its own conclusions, but what about the wider industry? Decision Marketing thumbs through its contacts book to gauge opinion.

Fuse chief executive Louise Johnson says it is promising to see an increased confidence in marketers to invest for the first half of the year.

She adds: “From a sport and entertainment perspective, we have definitely seen an appetite from advertisers to spend more in the first half of the year in this space. After a turbulent two years, brands want to ‘come back with a bang’ in 2022.”

Johnson reckons that from a media perspective investing in major events (particularly sport) has been an innovative solution to fragmented media audiences and rising TV inflation. Live events are one of the few platforms that still command significant audiences and represent one of the few remaining ‘appointments to view’ and can therefore aggregate audiences, she claims.

Sporting events, for example, generate high reach and significant media exposure for brands. Enabling them to signal presence and association with a mass consumer passion point.

She adds: “We see sport and entertainment events playing a big part in consumer spending behaviours across 2022. However, looking into 2023, we share the caution of the report which highlights the shrinking of disposable income and event organiser’s must be cognizant of this when preparing plans for 2023 events.”

For Curious London managing director Nikki Cunningham, it is no surprise that online formats have seen the biggest growth this quarter.

She adds: “The pandemic significantly fuelled the growth of digital and from a design and branding perspective, we’re finding that all of our work includes some aspect of digital nowadays.

“It’s also very promising to see UK adspend as a whole continue to rise, and it’s a sign that the communications industry can not only bounce back after facing hardship, but will also exceed expectations. This will be key to keep in mind over the coming months, as with uncertainties such as the cost of living crisis looming, we will all be feeling the pressure of budget tightening.

“As an industry, the last two years have helped us to understand how to navigate through turbulent times, and the next 12 months will be no different. However, we can enter this period with the optimism that the industry is resilient, and can withstand such uncertainty.”


Finally, Raconteur director of campaign sales Jon Todd says that what appears at first glance to be a rosy forecast for adspend is tempered by the very real challenges of inflation and geopolitical uncertainty.

He adds: “The contraction in real terms for 2023 is of particular concern given the role advertising plays in growing brands, revenues and the economy. The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers is having a knock-on effect across the economy – and the ad industry is clearly not immune to that.

But, Todd maintains, this means the industry must innovate, promote the value it brings and, most importantly, tie that to the metrics that matter for business.

He continues: “It’s been shown before that those who continue to advertise during difficult economic times reap the rewards when the good times return. But with competition for ad spend high, media owners must prove why their medium is the right place to invest.

“The continuing growth of digital options among the more traditional sectors shows we are listening to the demand from advertisers for more innovation to reach consumers online and to show the impact of their activity. With the end of the third-party cookie hurtling towards us, those who know their audience and how best to communicate with them should win out.”

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