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Self-fulfilling Economy?
By: Jeff Louis
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As Americans, there is a love/hate relationship that exists with the media due to one of two things: over portrayal (senseless beating to death of a subject) or non-portrayal (glossing over a story to move on) of news. Both tend to upset the news-hungry public, but over portrayal nears that point where news becomes culture for a short time. A couple of examples: Octo-Mom, Jon & Kate Gosselin, LiLo's drug rehab, relapse, rehab, and relapse.

Yes, these are "celebrity" examples, but unfortunately, it happens with the "real" news as well. Take for instance the automotive and banking bailouts. The fall of Fannie May and Freddie Mac. Bernie Madhoff. How many times did news anchors need to go over the fact that the Chairmen for the Detroit automakers flew in private jets to the Senate Subcommittee hearings? Definitely not 10,000.

The same holds true for the advertising industry, and yes, the economy. Yesterday, June 8, 2009, AdWeek ran a story encompassing a RSW/US survey of 200 marketing and 100 ad agency execs. (RSW/US is a lead generation and business development firm.) The survey showed that agencies were more optimistic than prospective clients regarding the economy and the advertising business for the remainder of the year.

Agencies participating in the survey, released in mid-May, included Leo Burnett, Mindshare and Bailey Lauerman. Clients included Ford, GE, Kraft, Lego and Lenox. While 51 percent of each group said that the second half of the year would see at least some continued falls in ad spending, more agency respondents (42 percent) felt the economy had already hit rock bottom and would therefore start to improve over the rest of the year than clients (35 percent).

Seventy-six percent of agencies felt that the number of new business opportunities would rise in Q3 and Q4 of 2009.

The Q1 2009 ad spending report surfaced today, and the results are horrid. Surprised? (Like someone couldn't have pulled their head out of their #$$ to figure that one out.) At this juncture, it is safe to assume that corporations have cut back, or totally scrapped, their advertising spend for 2009. If this is not clear to everyone, please ask your neighbor to explain it to you.

The point being? No one knows what will happen yet, or how the economy will fare. There are educated guesses on how far down the US will go, but they're still guesses. Is respite coming quickly? No one knows. Thus, the time for speculation is over, and if there is to be haphazard guessing, please don't print it in a magazine.

Today, reported the following:

Ad spending plummeted 12 percent during first quarter
Total first-quarter ad expenditures off $3.8 billion
Local Sunday supplements, biggest spending dip, off 37.7 percent
Thirteen of nineteen media tracked saw double-digit declines
Spot TV down 28.9 percent
National magazines dropped 20.6 percent
Local newspapers fell 14.3 percent; spot radio was off 9 percent
Online dropped 3.4 percent (not including search)
Network TV, the largest category, was off 4.8 percent
Automotive spend fell 27.7 percent, or $723 million
The single category that did do well? Quick-serve restaurants. Hey, depression causes the munchies!

Unless there's an answer to this debacle forthcoming, there's just no reason to report or talk about this subject anymore. Let it go and move on to something else.


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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