The boss of ad giant WPP, which includes JWT and Ogilvy and Mather, as well as Finsbury PR and TNS market research, is saying the recession is L-shaped in the UK and Western Europe, U-shaped in the US, and V-shaped in Asia and the Bric countries.
If Sorrell's diagnosis is right then us Brits may well be left broken-hearted. L-shaped recessions involve a protracted period of economic stagnation - like the one that struck Japan during its ‘lost decade' of the 1990s, causing scores of usually stoic salarymen to break down and utterly lose their marbles. The U involves a period of stagnation before things get better (as in the US, which is now officially out of recession); while the V-shape is what you really want - an economy that hits bottom but bounces straight back up again.
The phrase isn't actually Sorrell's - it was previously used by Reuters blogger Stella Dawson, who described the recent months as the ‘summer of Luv'. Sorrell then picked it up for a WPP trading statement, calling it: ‘the most acute description in the alphabet soup debate on the shape of the current economic cycle'.