Credit Cards Cut Back on TV Ad Spending

Number of Mortgage Commercials Are Cut Nearly in Half

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NEW YORK ( -- Preliminary data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus suggests that marketers of credit-card services are starting to cut back on TV ad spending, after increasing their year-over-year ad outlays for TV in July and August.

The number of TV ad units run by marketers of credit-card services -- defined as either a company such as MasterCard or a bank touting its own MasterCard, Visa or other brand -- slipped by nearly 24% in September, Nielsen said. The number of ad units touting credit-card services fell to 13,704 from Sept. 1-21, 2008, compared with 18,057 from Sept. 3-23, 2007. In July and August, those same marketers increased TV ad spending by nearly 27% to nearly $218.5 million from approximately $172.7 million, Nielsen said.

"Looking at the TV data so far, just occurrence levels, we are definitely seeing a slowdown, fewer ads," said Annie Touliatos, VP-sales development for Nielsen Co.

Other marketers
Other segments in the financial-services category have already begun spending less on TV, according to Nielsen data. Occurrences of TV ad units from marketers of mortgage services -- which also includes banks or loan companies offering such services -- fell 49.84% in September, Nielsen said. This comes after TV ad spending by the category was off nearly 54% for July and August. Ad units from marketers of mutual funds -- which also include brokerages promoting mutual funds -- fell 29.02% in September, Nielsen said. TV ad spending for the category was off 23.4% for July and August.

Such news comes as the global economy is in turmoil, and pressure is on marketers -- and consumers, too -- to hold on tightly to dollars. Already, Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia recently halved its forecast for U.S. ad spending, predicting growth this year of 1.8%, down from an estimated 3.5% only three months ago. Next year looks even worse -- the revised ZenithOptimedia forecast predicts scant 2009 growth of 0.9%, down from a more optimistic 2.7% in the company's last forecast in late June.
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