According to the annual Bellwether survey of major advertisers produced for Britain's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, most big spenders raised their marketing budgets in Q1 2000. Among the three hundred large companies surveyed, twice as many (40%) increased their spends as reduced them.

But the cloud within the silver lining is darkening: the rate of increase is slowing, admits the IPA, attributing this to the levelling of the market after the dotcom frenzy of 1999-2000. "This year things are coming back into line and we may be seeing the start of Europe de-coupling from the USA and Japan in terms of economic forecasting," said IPA director of marketing strategy Hamish Pringle.

But the extent of the rise is significantly lower than a year ago, when over 60% of the sample reported budget increases. The survey suggests that cost-conscious clients are looking for more measurably-effective advertising with direct marketing predicted to grow faster than any other form of promotion. However, the IPA believes this may portend a recovery in the second half of this year.

Says new IPA president Bruce Haines: “Everyone expected these figures to prove the UK was set for a downturn yet the picture is much more one of 'steady as she goes'.”

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)