Who says the economy is killing advertising?

July 30, 2008

dollars.jpgQuarterly results arrived today from Interpublic Group and Publicis. Guess what? Advertising spending held up in the second quarter, at least for the two ad companies.

You would think — given all the doom and gloom — that corporations would have sharply cut back on spending in the second quarter. Indeed, just about every expert out there has cut spending forecasts.

Yet Interpublic, home of DraftFCB and McCann-Erickson, posted revenue that raced right past expectations and said it was well on the way to achieving its goals for the year.

And the economy? They said they’re watching it and keeping an eye on costs.

“While the growth that we posted during the first half demonstrates that we have yet to see retrenchment on the part of clients, we will continue to monitor the broader economic situation closely,” CEO Michael Roth said in a statement.

French advertising group Publicis also seemed to weather the storm in the second quarter, increasing organic sales in all areas, including the United States. It did say, however, that it expected marketing investments to fall in some areas, citing the automotive and financial sectors, because of the credit crisis and rising commodity and food prices.

Of course, solid spending by clients in the second quarter may not tell us much. Many see advertising spending as a trailing economic indicator, meaning that we could very well see clients cutting budgets for the second half of the year.

“We are not immune to the macroeconomic environment. We will certainly see some client areas affected,” IPG’s Roth said on a conference call. But so far clients see the downturn as an opportunity to build brand, he added.

“We haven’t seen a major pullback.”

On the other hand, clearly everything isn’t sunshine in the advertising world. Just check out Meredith, whose earnings fell because of lower advertising revenue at its magazines. Or take a look at Viacom Inc, whose earnings showed weakness in retail and automotive advertising crimped hurt sales for its cable TV networks.

Keep an eye on:

  • Dell is testing a digital music player that could go on sale as early as September in a challenge to Apple (WSJ.com)
  • Social networking site MySpace announced a series of new senior executives (paidContent.org)
  • Billionaire oil investor T. Boone Pickens has sold all his Yahoo shares in frustration over Yahoo’s failure to reach a deal with Microsoft (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • ESPN will unveil a new online network that will encompass a cluster of Internet sites aimed at action sports (LA Times)

(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 http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/