Sorrell: 'Brand America' Screwing Up Big Time
WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell says the political standoff in Washington is hurting American's reputation overseas.
He told the UK’s Daily Telegraph that the budget stalemate and ensuing shuttering of all but essential government operations is damaging “Brand America.”
The contretemps is hurting America’s international reputation, the WPP chief told the paper. “If you were running a company like this, and stopped paying your workers, you’d get fired,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“The Americans I talk to are frustrated and embarrassed,” he said. “[The] impact on Brand America is not good at all.”
Sorrell has been sounding the alarm about the ongoing political battle in the U.S. over budget allocations and the potential damaging impact on the global economy for over a year. He calls the issue one of the “grey swans” that creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and caution among the world’s marketing community.
In its third-quarter 2012 financial results statement, for example, WPP characterized the health of U.S. economy and the related political squabbling over deficits and indebtedness as “the biggest grey swan.” The compromise reached last year over the so-called fiscal cliff, WPP said at the time, was just the latest example of U.S. politicians “kicking the can down the road.”
The company added: “Fears remain that whoever wins the Presidential election, will be unable to deal with these issues given a dead-locked Congress. So whilst the markets may feel better about things, given the recent rounds of quantitative easing and printing money, the real world remains concerned and braced for slow overall growth and a lost decade (which we may be halfway through), in Western Europe.”
WPP didn’t blame the U.S. for all the looming uncertainty. Problems in the Eurozone, the Middle East and even decelerating economic growth in the BRIC countries were contributing “swans” as well.
Sorrell told the Telegraph yesterday that a U.S. default on its debt would be “catastrophic” for the global economy.