Fourth-quarter ad spending softened somewhat as advertisers pushed back scheduled spending for the period into the first quarter of 2014 to strengthen 2013 financial performance. At least that’s been the experience of ad holding company Publicis Groupe, according to CEO Maurice Levy.
In an interview with cable channel CNBC, Levy said: "When it comes to Publicis, the first nine months of 2013 were excellent and we are in line and slightly ahead of our objectives. [But] the last quarter is always one of uncertainty and, this year, I must say that I feel some softness," he said. He told the network he attributed the less-than-robust spending environment to clients delaying investments to deliver better 2013 earnings.
Levy also told the network he expected that 2014 would be a better for Adland generally, citing stronger Gross Domestic Product growth as well as incremental advertiser expenditures earmarked for both the 2014 Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
That said, Levy also noted continuing pockets of uncertainty. "There are some issues regarding the BRIC markets as it seems slower than we are used to but China is picking up progressively. There are still some issues regarding Brazil and India so it is something that is still quite complicated," he told CNBC. Europe continues to struggle as well, he noted.