MediaFile

Publicis takes control of Chevy advertising

chevy

Automotive advertising isn’t what it once was – but they are still important accounts when you can land them.

It looks as though Publicis, the French holding company, has brought home the rest of the Chevrolet creative business. After it was first reported in Adweek, Publicis today released a short statement confirming that “Publicis Worldwide is proud to announce that Chevrolet has decided to consolidate all its U.S. advertising with Publicis Worldwide U.S.A.”

The shift — essentially taking work on Chevy trucks from Campbell-Ewald and moving it to Publicis — isn’t a total surprise. GM recently pulled lead creative duties on Chevy cars from Interpublic’s Campbell-Ewald, too.  That also went to Publicis.

Epix nears launch date — more distribution deals coming?

Suddenly, after limited news over the past year, Epix has been very much the talk of the town in recent days. A number of publications, including Reuters, have picked up on some announcements out of the pay TV site jointly owned by Paramount, Lions Gate, and MGM.

The key bit of news, of course, was the announcement that it had reached its first distribution deal, with Verizon. Chief Executive Mark Greenberg suggested to us that other deals should be coming soon — that he is talking to everybody and “some are further along than others.”

This is key, in the eyes of Wall Street. Distribution deals are always a bit tricky, and even tougher in the current economic environment. But analysts want to see Epix sign a deal with one of the big players — one with a ton of subscribers. We’re talking about Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV. So far the reaction has been a little lukewarm from some of the big boys but that could just be a negotiating tactic.

Gannett sets the tone for a tough earnings period

Let the bleeding begin. USA Today publisher Gannett kicked off earnings season for media companies this morning, posting a 60 percent drop in quarterly profit.

Here are some key points:

    Revenue fell almost 18 percent to $1.38 billion.
    Publishing ad revenue fell 34.1 percent from last year, with U.S. ad revenue down 28.2 percent and British ad revenue down 38.7 percent.
    At USA Today, ad sales fell 33.5 percent, and the number of paid advertising pages fell to 527 from 826 last year. USA Today’s paid circulation also likely will fall after Marriott International said this week that it would no longer automatically deliver the paper to its guests.

Don’t expect advertising revenue to look much better for biggest media companies as they roll out their numbers over the coming weeks. As Bernstein analyst Michael Nathanson recently pointed out in a research note, investors have been “looking past the horrid near-term trends to a happier place somewhere out on the horizon” but with earnings here “the recent run-up in media stocks will have resistance as the market realizes that recent trends are not likely to reverse any time soon.”

Keep an eye on:

    Dominos has found itself in the center of a publicity storm after two employees filmed a prank in one of its restaurant’s kitchens and posted it online (NY Times)
    ABC Entertainment Group President Stephen McPherson is under increasing pressure to produce a break-out hit (NY Post)
    Twitter is talking to big web companies about partnerships, but isn’t looking to sell itself (NY Times)
    Publicis Groupe agencies have added Hewlett-Packard’s personal systems group account in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region following a review (Adweek)

Same old song: Ad spending forecast cut yet again

So how low can it go? One percent? Three percent? Five percent? Let’s try a decline of 6.9 percent — since that’s the latest forecast for global advertising spending from ZenithOptimedia.

To the surprise of few, the agency, part of French advertising group Publicis, revised downward its outlook for 2009, predicting that only Internet ad spending now looks like it will rise for the year.

“Since we released our last forecasts in December the global ad market has taken a substantial turn for the worse,” said ZenithOptimedia. (Back then, the agency was calling for a flat market).

Sweating out the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, this is when the anxiety really boils on Madison Avenue. Is our spot going to bomb? Are we too late in the game? Is anyone going to watch Pittsburgh vs. Arizona? Is any of this madness worth it?!!????

Advertising Age puts at least a bit of that fear to rest:

Surely, spending $3 million on a Super Bowl ad in the midst of a crushing economic downturn is a foolish waste when chief marketing officers’ jobs are on the line?

On the contrary, it’s a bargain.

The Super Bowl presents not just a huge platform with astounding audience numbers where consumers actually lean forward to watch your ad. It also pays surprising ancillary dividends in awareness: reams of press coverage that drive word-of-mouth and stampeding traffic to websites. Most importantly, for the right company, it can establish a relationship and sell product.

Sports and economy square off

Sorting out what the economic downturn means for the sports world has become something of a sport itself.

Will consumers’ need to escape with some old-fashioned football trump their anxiety about shelling out hard-earned money for tickets, parking and hotdogs at the game?

Will TV broadcasters cash in on higher ratings, as consumers skip more expensive entertainment to spend time at home watching baseball or basketball on television? Or has devastation across the financial services and auto industries — two big advertisers in sports — doomed TV broadcasters regardless of audience size?

More bad news in advertising outlook

If you were looking for any positive signs from the advertising industry, perhaps as vendors try to drum up business amid the rough economy, forget it. Times are tough there too.

On Tuesday, France’s Publicis said it expects to see weakness in mature markets and traditional sectors and a “marked slowdown” in the ad industry next year.

And Interpublic Chief Executive Michael Roth said clients’ spending plans were under pressure from the financial crisis.

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.

More newspaper cuts… anyone surprised?

tribune-tower.jpgSo Tribune Co is cutting jobs at The Sun in Baltimore and Hartford Courant.

Not to sound callous, but by this point should anyone be surprised by news that a publisher is getting rid of jobs? After all, this is shaping up to be one of the worst years in memory for the newspaper business.

The upshot: The Sun will lose 100 jobs, 60 of them in the newsroom, and the Courant will cut about 60 jobs. (Don’t forget, Tribune is also cutting jobs at the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune)

But it’s not just Tribune. It seems everyone is cutting jobs as advertising revenue plunges thanks to the one-two combination of a weak economy and competition from the Internet for marketing dollars.

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: