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NOW AND THEN: A look at 75 years of growth and change for the economy and markets in the advertising age.

Source: Advertising Age's American Demographics; Automotive News; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association; Census Bureau; Federal Communications Commission; Federal Highway Administration; United Nations; Univeral McCann

Admarket 50

AD IT UP: Advertising Age launched less than 90 days after the October 1929 stock crash; the bigger crash was still to come. The Dow plummeted 89% from its '29 peak to '32 nadir. Ad spending plunged 54% from a '29 top to '33 bottom. Ad spending didn't surpass '29 till 1946, start of the post-war boom. The Dow didn't break its '29 record for 25 years, 1954.

Ad spending soared beginning in the inflationary mid-'70s, topping $25 billion in '74, $50 billion in '80 and $100 billion in '86. The Dow in '82 was stuck at its mid-'60s level. But a bull market rocketed the Dow from 777 in '82 to nearly 12,000 in '00 before the bubble burst. The Dow, at 10,443, is now 27 times the '29 level. Universal McCann's Bob Coen projects '05 ad spending at $281 billion, about 100 times '29 spending. Ad spending increased in 66 of Ad Age's first 75 years; the Dow rose 52 years. The advertising age worked out in the end.

RECAP: The Ad Age and Bloomberg AdMarket 50 closed at 1,454.66 March 24, down 0.5% in a short holiday week. The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 1.53% to 1,171.42 amid inflation worries. Sears, Roebuck & Co. was at the bottom of the AdMarket, closing at $50.04, near the cash price Kmart Holding Corp. paid for it March 24. Sears was in the Dow from 1924-99. It now drops its venerable ticker symbol, S. The merged Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) begins trading today.

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