|America appears to be leading a turnaround in the global ad economy. The development is ironic because some economists believe the U.S. triggered the ad recession in the first place with its sub-prime lending crisis, which has stabilized as Western Europe's credit crisis unravels.
In a report released this week, WARC says the "American recovery" is boosting global ad spending and helping to sustain momentum across the globe, even in Europe.
"Marketing spend in the Americas increased sharply in February," WARC says in an update to its monthly Global Marketing Index, noting that while marketers have "cut budgets again" in European and APAC markets, the "trading outlook" has nonetheless improved, because of the global momentum triggered by the U.S. ad recovery.
Noting that its index shows marketers at their "most positive" point since WARC began publishing it five months ago, WARC Data Editor Suzy Young attributed much of the momentum to the U.S., where the index jumped to 62.9 in February from 56.5 in January.
"The region has seen confidence rise across the board," she writes, citing improving conditions in media trading, marketing budgets and agency staffing, and noting that "this suggests that macro conditions in the U.S. are markedly improving."
While the rest of the global ad marketplace remains in flux, the WARC data shows a 2.6-point rise in Asia-Pacific to an index of 56.0 this month.
That should be good news for key Asian markets -- especially Japan, where the lingering effects of its earthquake and tsunami had devastated advertising confidence as well. Coincidentally, Tokyo-based ad giant Dentsu released data this morning showing that total ad spending in Japan fell 2.3 per cent during 2011, which was attributed largely to the impact of its natural disasters.
Dentsu, which is the parent of U.S. agencies such as 360i and mcgarrybowen, noted that on a quarterly basis, the Japanese ad marketplace "recovered steadily in the second half of the year, and was higher in the October-December quarter than during the same period in 2010.
Dentsu said traditional media fell 2.6 per cent for the year, although TV was "relatively steady" and Internet ad spending rose 4.1 per cent in what historically has been one of the world's biggest advertising marketplaces.
Meanwhile, WARC also offered some encouraging news for European ad markets, noting that while it still lags other global regions in macro terms, February shows "improving conditions" for the continent. Europe's index managed to gain 1.6 points, rising to 52.0 in February.
"It is the surest sign yet that the region is beginning to rebound following the protracted uncertainty surrounding sovereign debt crises in the Eurozone," Warner wrote.