Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Advertising Giant IPG: We’ll Admit It–The Ad Market Doesn’t Look That Great

The third-quarter earnings results of ginormous advertising conglomerate Interpublic Group are out, and they’re really not that bad, considering that both the overall economy and the ad business have been sinking for most of the year.

All the key metrics, including organic revenue–that is, revenue it earned without the benefits of mergers and acquisitions–are up nicely.

How’d that happen? In part, it’s because IPG doesn’t just do advertising (it also tackles marketing, PR and other related endeavors), and in part it’s because IPG’s business is spread out worldwide, so it benefits from international growth markets that haven’t been hit as hard as the U.S. Yet.

Alas, that may be the last decent quarter that IPG or most other ad-related businesses see for a while. That’s not a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, but since IPG is a public company it has to go ahead and spell it out, anyway.

Here’s CEO Michael Roth, via the company’s earnings release:

During the past few weeks, it has become clear that the global financial situation has begun to weigh on marketers spending plans for both the fourth quarter and 2009. As such, we will continue to monitor broader economic developments and to focus on meeting the needs of our clients and managing our margins. While we believe that with our strong performance year to date we remain positioned to achieve our financial objectives for 2008, the impact of an increasingly unsettled and volatile business environment on our sector is not yet clear and creates a risk to meeting our stated goals.”

Translation: Buckle up.

[Image Credit: Robyn Gallagher]


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik