It's the economy, stupid

Joe Mandese

Two months ago, I weighed in on the impact a global economic recession might have on the advertising economy. It's time to weigh in again. In fact, I could probably devote at least the next 12 months of Admap columns to the economy, according to Steven King, chief executive of Publicis' ZenithOptimedia media unit. Economics have grown so volatile, and their influence over advertising budgets and media investments so profound, that ZenithOptimedia has gone from quarterly tracking of global ad spend to monthly.

“Clearly, the situation is very different now than eight weeks ago,” King said in mid-December upon disclosing the new frequency, as well as ZenithOptimedia's new – much more dire – advertising outlook for 2009.

King was speaking at a conference in New York, along with GroupM's Adam Smith and Interpublic's Bob Coen. All three forecasters called for the first reduction in global ad spend since the recession of 2001, which was triggered by the dotcom bust.