MediaFile

What to say at times like these?

wallstreet.jpgThe financial crisis is tough on everybody — Madison Avenue copywriters included.

Stuart Elliott of the New York Times looks at how tough it can be to craft an advertising campaign in this climate, particularly if your client is in financial services.

He points to a new campaign by Washington Mutual, which was sold to JP Morgan Chase amid all the upheaval. What do you say to consumers? The creatives working on the campaign went for humor, Elliot writes, deciding on a headline reading “We love Chase,” followed by “And not just because they have a trillion dollars.”

The same challenge is playing out in the marketing department of virtually every financial institution. As the stock market swoons, investors are watching their paper losses mount and their retirement accounts dwindle. As the most trusted names in banking and brokerage have fallen like dominoes – despite reassurances from top executives that nothing was wrong – what message or slogan could possibly reassure a jittery public?

If Madison Ave figures out what the slogan or message should be, they may want to share it with governments around the world.

Who says the economy is killing advertising?

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.

The drama builds in Hollywood

hollywood.jpg

We’re once again wondering who will blink first in Hollywood.

The Screen Actors Guild and the major firm and television studios are having another pow-wow today, and the subject is an ominous sounding “final offer” that management has presented to the union.

As we have seen, the talks so far haven’t gotten around the same sticky issues that prompted a strike this winter by the Writers Guild of America strike. So a take-it-or-leave-it offer by the studios doesn’t sound too promising if the entertainment biz is to avoid another strike.

But wait! SAG executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen, suggested on the eve of his union’s formal response that the door to further deal-making remained open. He had this to say in an interview with Reuters:

Advertising budgets: What’s the deal there?

scissors.jpgQuarter after quarter, analysts and the financial press keep pressing advertising executives about the economy and spending. For good reason, too, since corporations often take scissors to advertising budgets during downturns.

Thing is, the chief executives of the big ad holding companies so far have given very much the same answer during conference calls and interviews: everyone is worried, nobody is cutting spending.

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth is no exception. Here’s what he said on Wednesday about the economy/spending issue during his company’s earnings call:

Speed is the new big — and other ad talk

iaa-logo.JPGThe International Advertising Association (IAA) is holding its World Congress in Washington D.C. this week, when hundreds of advertising and media executives descend on the nation’s capital to talk about social communities, marketing regulation, return on investment, and, of course, the economy.

Here’s what ad industry types are saying:

“Advertising and the economy seem to go hand in hand. Really, the fact that the economy is weakening is going to have an impact on the industry in the short term.” Bob Liodice, President, Association of National Advertisers

“An actors’ strike would be incredibly devastating, particularly to the television business. The industry paid a large price for the last work stoppage. I don’t think either the (local) economy or the business would be able survive something like that.” Jeff Zucker, Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal