Ad agency execs were shocked to hear Britain is leaving the European Union. In the short-term, WPP may benefit from market fluctuation, however an exit vote is not good for clients, one exec said.
“The resulting uncertainty, which will be considerable, will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity,” WPP exec Martin Sorrell told Ad Age, noting some 90% of the agency’s revenues come from outside the UK. “In the long term, Britain will suffer.”
The British ad agency overwhelmingly referred to remain in the European Union. After the vote late last week to leave the EU after 43 years, Britain faces uncertainty as it negotiates an exit.
One judge in Cannes from a London ad agency told Ad Age: “I’d like to think that the strength of our relationships with key clients means it won’t have a big impact. But the uncertainty is possibly the most damaging part.”
Another agency exec said her main fear is that while Britain is likely economically strong enough to survive the fallout, other, more financially-fragile countries will follow Britain’s example and leave, too — and suffer — ultimately affecting advertising. Her own agency recently stopped doing business with Spain for just that reason, according to the account.
The UK advertisers’ association said in a statement: “There will be a great deal in terms of advertising and consumer law that came from the EU that will remain in U.K. law. It is business as usual, we are in the EU for at least two years and maybe longer. Rash decisions in business or politics rarely pay off.”