Newest Unpleasant Ad Numbers: Mortgage Ads Down 62 Percent

Published on December 2, 2008
by Peter Kafka

Your grim advertising stats for the day: Financial advertisers pull back in 2008, and another ad agency predicts a spending decline for 2009. In other news, the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West.

It’s no surprise, obviously, that financial advertising has slowed down in the first three quarters of 2008. The surprise is that it’s only been a 10 percent reduction (so far), according to Nielsen.

There are also some interesting breakdowns: Mortgage and loan companies spent 62 percent less (of course). But credit service companies increased their spend by 22 percent, and investment service companies boosted their spend by six percent.

Here’s Nielsen’s list of top 10 financial advertisers (click chart to enlarge): Note that Bank Of America (BAC), one of the comparative winners during the meltdown, has cut its spend by 30 percent so far this year–slightly more than teetering Citigroup’s (C) 26.5 percent cut. Previously left-for-dead ETrade (ETFC), meanwhile, bumped up its spend by 24.5 percent.

Want more unpleasantness? OK. Comes now yet another ad executive to tell you that next year will be very unpleasant for anyone looking to make a living off of advertising revenue.

U.S. advertising spending will drop 5-8 percent next year, says Steve Lanzano, chief operating officer of MPG North America, a unit of French advertising conglomerate Havas SA. Lanzano predicts that sports advertising, long considered one of the most impervious to downturns, will get roughed up as well:

Even television sports, which have become more popular with advertisers since audiences tend to watch the events live rather than recording them, will suffer from the broad pullback in marketing spending, said Lanzano.

Lanzano estimated 9 to 10 percent of spending on broadcast sports comes from financial services and automotive, both industries that have been in turmoil. ‘That’s a lot of money moving out,’ said Lanzano.

‘Because of the hits in the categories that support sports–whether it’s financial or automotive or retail–I think they might take a little more of a hit than they would in other recessionary periods,’ he said.”

OK. Let’s break the glumness up a bit, shall we? If you’re looking for a cheap laugh, head to the Hollywood Reporter’s take on the Nielsen numbers. Then feast your eyes on the unintentional, yet very successful contextual advertising placed to the right of the story (which is where I borrowed the image currently at the top of this story).

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