Ad firms see April bounce

Thailand's advertising industry expects to see a recovery in ad spending despite the political tensions, as advertisers prepare for marketing campaigns in April, the peak season for product sales.

Wannee Rattnaphon, president of the Media Agency Association of Thailand (MAAT), said consumer goods companies plan to kick off their big campaigns in April. Although political uncertainties persist, they must launch their campaigns this summer or risk missing sales targets this year.

Lingering demonstrations by anti-government protesters have hurt the industry the first two months this year.

MAAT cut its ad spending forecast growth from 5% to 3% this year, in line with the nation's economic growth estimate by the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Last year, total ad spending in all media outlets was 115 billion baht, reported Nielsen Thailand.

Mrs Wannee said the delay in government infrastructure investments worth 2 trillion baht this year will undercut the country's key economic growth drivers, particularly domestic investment.

But the MAAT hopes the 2014 World Cup in June and the rise of digital TV will accelerate ad spending the rest of the year.

Rattakorn Surbsuk, a trading partner of Group M, said the ad industry could see a double-digit drop in media spending if the protests drag on to the second quarter. Thailand has a record of resilient ad spending despite political instability in the past.

Kriengkrai Kanjanaphokin, co-CEO of Index Creative Village Plc, a leading event organiser, said major events are being postponed and organisers must take a wait-and-see approach for now, particularly for international fairs and events organised near protest sites.

"My major concern is a chain reaction from politics, the economic slowdown and lower consumer purchasing power as it could affect product sales at many companies," he said.

The expected loss of 130 billion baht from the rice pledging scheme will hurt many businesses such as motorcycles, pickup trucks and fertiliser.

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