NEW YORK: America's Association of National Advertisers, which rarely rushes in where angels fear to tread, has published its annual report on marketing trends for the year ahead.

Reminiscent of the biblical proverb featuring a mountain and a mouse, the report predicts cutbacks in adspend in 2008 - a prophesy that lags by several months the first appearance of the writing on the globe's economic wall.

In similarly rearguard style the report's begetters - a team led by ANA president/ceo Robert Liodice - also ventures its belief that the worst of the downturn will be countered by a massive increase in political adspend.

The study bases its stance on "economic factors that are mostly external to media, including an overall slowing of economic growth and continuing problems in the credit market, resulting from the subprime mortgage meltdown".

These, the ANA predicts, will squeeze consumer lending in 2008, leading to a downturn in consumer confidence as families tighten their purse-strings and prepare to ride out the storm.

In these circumstances, says the report, marketing will still be central to most companies' business strategies, becoming even more important.

A conclusion unlikely to arch many eyebrows given that the body is to all intents a trade union for marketers.

The report stresses the need for innovation and creativity in all aspects of advertising and media planning, including ad creative and delivery strategies.

It also reiterates the ANA's mantra for 2007: that the proliferation of media and fragmentation of audiences demands even sharper focus by marketers on measurement and accountability.

The latter need, says the ANA, will likely spawn new positions for 'accountability officers' to lead strategies to implement better measurement of delivery and results.

Data sourced from Media Daily News Online (USA); additional content by WARC staff