Advertising in Tough Economic Times. Should Advertisers Hold Back?

December 1st, 2008

Many marketers are wondering right now what the best advertising approach is in these tough times.  I say spend but spend wisely.  Go into the marketplace with a sound strategic plan that will allow greater frequency with a more efficient use of limited dollars.   When the majority of your competition is reducing ad spend during this time GET OUT THERE!  Now more than ever marketers have the ability to gain marketshare and keep in front of engaged consumers.  Look at this time as an opportunity to move the needle for your company and stay one step ahead of the competition.

I say go the “Schooner Tuna” route from the 1983 comedy hit Mr. Mom and show consumers that you also feel the hard impact of the economy and are there for them in this time of uncertainty.  Of course this can be applied easier to consumer goods but this approach can also work for any marketer.  Whether you are offering a two-for-one offer, a free night’s stay, mail in rebates or special financing this relays to the consumer that your company cares and is stable.

Marketing examples from the Depression Era

Proctor and Gamble – This is a company which has a philosophy of not reducing advertising budgets during times of recession and they certainly did not make any such reduction during the Depression. P&G has made progress in every one of the major recessions and that is no accident. When their competitors were swinging the budget axe, P&G actually increased their spending. While the Depression caused problems for many, P&G came out of it unscathed. Radio took P&G’s message into more homes than ever.

Chevrolet – During the 1920s, Fords were outselling Chevrolets by 10 to 1. In spite of the Depression, Chevrolet continued to expand its advertising budget and by 1931, the “Chevy 6” took the lead in its field and remained there for the next five years.

Bottom line is this is exactly the time to go full throttle with ad dollars and gain much coveted marketshare.