Employment: 67.1% employment (2000)
Presidents: Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-present)
Big names in advertising:
Alex Bogusky, Crispin Porter & Bogusky; Donny Deutsch, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch; Steven J. Heyer, Coca-Cola Co.; A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble Co.; David Lubars, BBDO Worldwide; Jeff Zucker, NBC Entertainment
Top agency in 2000: McCann Erickson Worldwide ($23.0 billion-number reflects McCann's consolidated properties)
Top advertiser in 2000: General Motors Corp. ($3.9 billion)
Total U.S. ad spending in 2000: $247.5 billion
The millennium celebrations marking the start of the 21st century were quickly tempered by the divisive and contested 2000 U.S. presidential election (followed by an equally heated but uncontested re-election campaign in 2004) and then by the world-changing events of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists took over the skies, destroyed New York's World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, killing about 3,000 people. Not only were there social and psychological ramifications, but business and advertising took a big hit, both in the short term, as news reports dominated the airwaves and advertising was viewed as unseemly, and in the long term, as the economic impact of the attack became clear. U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq added to a period of uncertainty, made worse by the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in late 2004's Asian tsunami. Scandals at corporations from Enron to Tyco reduced consumers' trust.
Despite the industry's woes, agencies and marketers continued their international expansion. But in a sea change that made the 1960s creative revolution look like child's play, the entire marketer-agency-30-second commercial paradigm was turned upside down. At Advertising Age's Madison & Vine conference in 2003, Coca-Cola Co. President Steven J. Heyer electrified the crowd with a speech describing an "urgency of change that isn't evolutionary, it's transformational." Continued media fragmen- tation and consumers' increased control over how, when and where they receive ad messages caused advertisers to look for new avenues. Strategies included product integration in reality shows and videogames, viral marketing and contextual Internet advertising, out-of-home media, and co-branding and branded entertainment. The strengthening link between advertising and entertainment was exemplified by American Express Co.'s Web films starring Jerry Seinfeld. Wireless marketing also took hold as consumers started to use their cell phones for text messaging and games.
The 2000 census confirmed the viability of certain segments, especially Hispanics and tweens. Direct-to-consumer pharmaceuticals, led by pain medications such as Celebrex and Vioxx and the erectile dysfunction brands Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, continued as a pre-eminent category. Other strong categories included emerging entertainment devices, from Apple's iPod to digital video recorders; telecommunications, with a focus on wireless and broadband services; and food brands, fueled by the antioxidant, whole-grain and low-carb crazes. The food industry was seeing consolidation as brands tried to solidify their retail presence.
The decade began with a dot-com burst-at least 12 of the advertisers during the 2000 Super Bowl were Web-related-followed by a dot-com bust in 2001, when many high-profile but unprofitable sites shuttered. Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated 383 Internet companies folded through November of that year, including Pets.com, one of the best-known brands. Still, the Internet became an increasingly important component of advertisers' integrated marketing programs.
Several new technologies promised to revolutionize marketing. DVRs from companies such as TiVo, as well as cable and satellite operators, allowed customers to time-shift programming and skip commercials while watching TV. Satellite and Internet radio, together with music downloading sites and digital MP3 players, gave music lovers viable alternatives to radio, which saw quarterly household ratings fall 5.9% from 2000 to 2004, according to Arbitron. Wireless and broadband uptake gave marketers new opportunities to reach consumers in the short term, while video-on-demand offered longer-term potential.
Comfort and cocooning became buzzwords of the 2000s, building on a trend that had started in the 1990s. Retailers were in the economic doldrums and facing industry consolidation, and turned to new marketing techniques-notably gift cards-to attract shoppers.
Entertainment and consumer products targeted the increasingly high-profile Christian market. The success of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," driven by pre-release marketing in churches, showed marketers that religious products could succeed in the mainstream. There were franchise-based blockbusters like the Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series-while reality programming became a dominant TV genre, from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to "Fear Factor," from "The Apprentice" to "American Idol." In music, R&B and rap stayed strong, while established acts-such as Prince, Santana and U2-drove consumers to digital downloading sites and arenas.
Sports suffered several black eyes, from the backlash against Major League Baseball's tie-in with Fox to put Spider-Man's image on bases and the Balco steroid scandal, to the NBA's Pistons/Pacers brawl and the cancellation of the NHL season.