From the 4A's Media Confab

A Modest Forecast for 2008 National Ad Spending

But Bear Stearns Analyst Has More-Depressing Assessment for Local Markets

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AdAge.com) -- A prominent advertising-industry analyst predicted 2008 would be a year of modest ad-spending growth, even as the Labor Department released weaker-than-expected jobs data today.
Alexia Quadrani
Photo: Art Beaulieu

Bear Stearns analyst Alexia Quadrani says local advertising 'remains anemic.'

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Speaking at the annual American Association of Advertising Agencies Media Conference and Trade Show, Bear Stearns analyst Alexia Quadrani said U.S. ad spending would increase 4% in 2008, up from an estimated 3.3% in 2007. Ms. Quadrani said national ad spending "remains healthy," while local advertising "remains anemic" and will face more hurdles as digital media become more of a force in the marketplace.

She said Bear Stearns saw "no sign of any major pullback in national ad growth," citing comments from and talks with executives from the world's big ad-holding companies.

Another sign of recession
Her remarks came even as the U.S. Labor Department today said nonfarm payrolls had shed 63,000 jobs. The numbers add fuel to the notion that the nation is heading into or is already in a recession, said one media researcher at the conference who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Despite fears about the economy, Ms. Quadrani said marketers still have reason to spend on advertising. Many face an extremely competitive landscape with products that aren't very different from those of rivals. Many marketers have raised prices and need to advertise to get consumers to continue to buy their goods. She also said corporate profits in many industries remain healthy, albeit not in the financial-services and automotive sectors.

Local advertising faces heavier challenges, she said, including the migration of more ad dollars to national advertising.
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