Merrill Lynch Warns of 'False Dawn' in World Ad Recovery

29 July 2004

The remorselessly-hyped recovery in global advertising "does not feel typical" of the normal upswing in the wake of a recession, warns investment bank Merrill Lynch.

In its periodic report on the advertising sector, Merrill opines that the industry's rate of recovery should typically outpace gross domestic product.

But across much of the globe the ad business is merely keeping up with GDP -- despite the massive injection of ad revenues worldwide triggered by the Euro 2000 soccer championship, the Olympic Games and the upcoming US presidential election.

Merrill predicts 5.5% global ad growth this year; whereas the US will forge ahead with 6.3% and Europe lag somewhere between 3% and 4%. In the UK, however, the ad market is still "surprisingly tough" and recovery "remains slow".

But bankers traditionally bet each way and Merrill's seers qualified their prognostications: " However, things do feel better: we see a broadening recovery both geographically and by discipline, although old Europe remains slow.

"We are still in the relatively early stages of an economic recovery and individual mediums are behaving differently than in the past, mostly weaker than anticipated."

[In plain English: just an informed guess, folks; don't blame us if we get it wrong!]

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff