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Why is WPP Spooked Despite Rising Profits?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The marketing and advertising landscape is still trying to figure itself out. The business scene, with Corporate America and Wall Street, is not doing it any favors. With investors scared about what is going on in the Asian markets and clueless about what is going through the heads of the Chinese government, businesses are wondering what they may have to do if money starts to leave the markets.

But for AdLand, the glimmer of hope, though faint, is still there.

WPP, steered by Sir Martin Sorrell, reported its earnings earlier and was able to provide great news to its stockholders. WPP's revenue and profits rose, even with the huge media reviews and agency/client uncertainty. Is the worst over?

Not quite, Sir Sorrell was quick to say.

Though WPP did well, and was successful in some major bids, it did come up short in a few reviews. Whether WPP was just beaten by better competition, or if the market atmosphere scared brands off, wasn't publicly mentioned.

The holding company's boss said that in conversations with their clients, several companies are focusing more on limiting costs versus growing revenue. We hate when we hear that, because it usually means brands are bunkering down for some bad stuff to come through the economy. The "survive to thrive" mentality is never a method we choose for brands to do.

What about the rest of AdLand? Should it turn its optimism back to fear? In short, no. The fact that some of the major economies are still doing relatively well is a good thing. Take advantage of it while you can. However, let's not be reckless. Agencies should have backup plans and reserves in place in case we see another 2008.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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