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U.K. Companies to Boost Marketing by Most Since 2008 on Economy

U.K. companies will increase marketing this year by the most in six years, according to a survey by an advertising group, after companies respond to a stronger economy and falling unemployment.

A net balance of 25.8 percent of companies surveyed by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising said they expect to spend more in 2014, the highest reading since 2008. The group’s Bellwether Report, which doesn’t name companies, has been conducted since 2000.

“One of the most encouraging signals from the survey is the indication that companies are feeling more confident about investing in growing their businesses, advertising to build brands, supporting new product launches and taking the plunge in being more aggressive about boosting revenues,” the report’s author, Chris Williamson, said in an e-mailed release.

Third-quarter revenue at Martin Sorrell’s WPP Plc, the world’s largest advertising agency, beat analyst estimates to rise 5 percent, largely because of business in the U.K. and the Americas. U.K. unemployment fell to its lowest in 4 1/2 years in the three months through October, moving toward the 7 percent threshold at which Bank of England officials said they would consider raising interest rates.

Marketing spending increased for the fifth consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2013, according to today’s Bellwether Report.

Advertising campaigns last year included Vodafone promoting its faster, fourth-generation wireless network in the U.K. with television ads featuring appearances from Star Wars character Yoda.

The Bellwether Report -- which polled 300 U.K. marketing executives -- showed that a balance of 11 percent of companies surveyed registered an increase in budgets during the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 12.3 percent in the third quarter.

Publicis Groupe SA and Omnicom Group Inc. won European Union approval on Jan. 9, to form the world’s biggest advertising company, which would overtake the U.K.-based WPP.

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