Cloudy outlook as ad agencies convene

City A.M. Reporter
Advertisers are likely to strike a cautious note at this week’s Cannes festival, after making a strong start to the year, on concern sovereign debt-fuelled European austerity measures could hamper the rebound.

The 57th Cannes Lions event is set to bring together the heads of the world’s top ad firms, including WPP, Publicis and Interpublic, as well as executives from Internet giants Facebook and Google.

Some 8,000 delegates from 90 countries are expected to take part in a week of seminars and workshops in the French seaside town. Major advertising groups posted more solid organic sales growth than expected in the first quarter of this year, thanks to economic improvement in the US and the dynamism of emerging markets.

Britain’s WPP, the world’s top ad firm by revenues, has forecast two per cent growth this year, compared with a previous forecast for flat like-for-like revenue. Publicis also voiced optimism, though chief executive Maurice Levy has said he was cautious about the second half of the year because of “several clouds” such as concerns about the debt of some European countries.