Attention shoppers: Madison Ave. thanks you

June 5, 2008

walmart.jpgMadison Avenue should breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to the retail sector. Big U.S. retailers posted slightly better-than-expected sales last month, which may give them confidence to keep their advertising budgets intact.

Like everyone else, advertising executives have watched the economy, falter a development that could threatens to crimp marketing spending. By and large, admen say, spending had held steady, with some weakness in financial services and other areas.

But Madison Avenue is hardly in the clear — just look at the mounting troubles in the auto industry, which has banked on SUV sales, as evidenced by General Motors’ announcement earlier this week about plant closures and job cuts.

Keep in mind, automotive was the single largest ad spender last year, so the industry’s troubles are hugely significant for advertisers. The second largest spending category? Retail.

That’s why the sales data released by retailers on Thursday should come as good news for ad giant like Omnicom, WPP and, particularly, IPG.

(Remember, IPG’s Martin agency has the Wal-Mart account, and the world’s biggest retailer and huge advertiser posted a 3.9 percent rise in same-store sales. Consumers seem to be taking seriously the slogan “Save money. Live better.”)

For sure, it’s just one month of sales in one category. But if you’re an advertising agency in this economic environment, you’ll take the good news where you can get it.

Keep an eye on:

  • HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide Chief Executive Jane Friedman is resigning, parent company News Corp said on Wednesday, making her the second book publishing executive to quit in recent weeks as financial pressures weigh on the industry. (Reuters)
  • The upcoming Triple Crown bid by Big Brown has turned into a payday for the Walt Disney Co’s ABC and ESPN networks, as advertisers line up to buy ads on programming leading up to the Belmont Stakes. (Reuters)
  • Paramount Pictures said its main studio will absorb the marketing, distribution and physical production departments at its specialty label, Paramount Vantage. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg and National Executive Director Doug Allen want to convince dual card-holders to oppose ratification of the prime-time TV deal recently agreed to by American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the studios and networks. (ADWEEK)

(Photo: Reuters)

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see