TV Buyers Discuss Impact Of Terrorist Attacks
Harry Keeshan, executive vice president of national broadcast for Creative Media PHD, a media buying division of the Omnicom Media Group, says some of his clients have stopped advertising, but won't cancel their campaigns. "We don't see any ad dollars being affected or people stopping campaigns, but they've delayed them," he says. He wouldn't name the clients, but said the travel and automotive categories are among the hardest hit.
"Compounding this disaster is the bad economy, which is teetering on getting worse," he says. "Consumer spending is very low and advertisers are very reluctant to go back and advertise when people aren't responding."
After the terrorist attacks, Keeshan says he counseled his clients by phone because it was impossible to fly to meet them face to face. "My job was basically a call to arms to talk with clients about when they should return to advertising and come up with a solution."
He sees the new TV season as a key to that solution. "Hopefully the ratings will be good, so they [advertisers] can get their minds thinking of other things," he says.
There has been talk of lower ad prices due to decreased demand. Keeshan says upfront prices will stay where they are, but scatter prices may fall. "They could go down if budgets anticipated prior to Sept. 11 don't materialize," he says.
Tom DeCabia, executive vice president of Advanswers, another Omnicom buying shop, says that talk of lower prices is really nothing new. "We've known since the upfront that the market hasn't been as strong and the scatter will be softer. It's no secret since the economy's been struggling. It's all supply and demand and if there's no demand they lower prices to move it."
Bu, he says, the terrorist attacks may lower demand further. "They'll be more selective and cautious about where they want to advertise."
DeCabia also says none of his clients pulled ads after the attacks and that any ads lost during the attacks ran as make goods. But he notes that many advertisers have pulled ads because of their themes. "It depends on the message," he says, noting that soft drink feel good ads can't run now. These advertisers will start to come back, "but they'll have to be sensitive to the subject before they can move forward." Thus, another reason for the delay in coming back is the need to rework creative on certain ads.