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Budget 2010: The Budget needs to be pro-consumerist, say ad honchos

25-February-2010
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Budget 2010: The Budget needs to be pro-consumerist, say ad honchos

With just a day to go for the Union Budget 2010, the advertising fraternity does not seem to be too excited about it. Two wishes that top the list of most advertising professionals are revoking the service tax and boosting GDP growth as the ad industry is more dependent on the GDP factor. exchange4media finds out more from the Indian ad honchos.

According to Prathap Suthan, National Creative Director, Cheil Communications, “There’s really been no year when the Budget has actually been pro-consumerist. And there's been no year when newer and clever taxes haven't been initiated. How I wish that this year, the Government actually caps prices, boosts tax brackets, and initiates new saving ideas that actually help people to loosen their purse strings. Because, if prices come down, or even if they can remain stable, (here's hoping there are no fuel price increases), people will buy more, and in a healthier market, advertising will increase, bring in competitive pricing, and will eventually help people to afford more things, and a better life.”

He further said, “The multiplier effect on the economy as a whole will possibly help the Government to haul in more taxes and push up the levels in their coffers. Personally, we are nothing but a small industry in the national scheme of things, but the effects of what we can do as a catalyst are immense. The market needs a healthier advertising industry, and in turn we would appreciate extra money to get back mettle and invite talent back into our weakened structures. A bad budget, fuel rise, more taxes, and the economy will get even tauter.”

D Rajappa, President, Everest Brand Solutions, noted, “From a consumer’s perspective, you need to put in money in the consumer’s pocket. Then business will be generated. Advertising gets affected by consumer’s spending. If the Budget is positive for the consumer, then it will be positive for the industry too.”

Kamal Basu, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi, lamented that fact that as an industry, advertising had been ignored by several governments during Budget plans. On his wishlist, he said, “Firstly, the Government should acknowledge us as an industry and secondly, it needs to revoke the service tax and charges. As far my expectations go, I just hope the Budget pack is friendly to the common man and provides some serious relief measures.”

Commenting on the GDP growth and expectations from the Budget, Arvind Sharma, Chairman & CEO, Leo Burnett, said, “Growth of the advertising industry is driven by the health of the overall economy. Growth of consumer demand should be across sectors as well as there is need for introduction of new services. I hope that the Budget will strike the right balance between controlling inflation and deficit and sustaining growth. I hope that the Budget proposals will not dampen the momentum of our GDP growth.”

Though not very enthusiastic about the Budget, but concerned about some serious issues, Mohit Jayal, Managing Director, Wieden+Kennedy, Delhi, posed a question, “With almost half our population below poverty line, does it really matter what the advertising industry wants from the Budget?”

As for Ali Merchant, Director, Triton Communications, the Budget would bring some good news especially for rural economy. He predicted, “It will be a good Budget and it will affect our clients. With the rural economy showing some growth trends, this in turn will help rural-based products do well.”

Anil Nair, CEO, Law and Kenneth, noted, “On a macro level, I hope that stimulus packages are not withdrawn from the general business industry otherwise advertising will be affected. Moreover, there should be clarity on taxes on celebrity endorsement.”

Sandeep Goyal, CEO, Dentsu Marcom, said, “There is no wishlist for an advertising budget.”

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