If Government Shutdown Is Hard To Understand, How About TV Ad Shutdown?

Turned on my TV Tuesday morning to learn of government shutdown. But non-related TV messaging didn’t stop.

On ESPN, none of that morning’s commercials for Golden Corral, Stihl chain saws, and Castrol Edge referred to not being able to get stamps for mail, or what to do with my time now I cannot get into a national park.

It was business as usual -- for the moment. (Wall Street stocks were modestly higher in midday trading. How bad could things really be, after all?)

For TV viewers, more dramatic stuff would occur if, say, there was an “advertising shutdown” or a “TV programming shutdown.” Think of it. A TV advertising shutdown would show viewers something in fact was very different. We’d all flock to digital media, and proponents of search, video, display and programmatic buying would perhaps alter people’s opinions about what advertising is, and why we need it or not. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.



Big advertising companies, however, don’t want much change. Neither do their employees. All of them love consistency and hate disruption -- especially during the start of the new TV season. In the fourth quarter, especially regarding specific consumer-related businesses, they expect business to prosper heading into the holiday season.

A holiday for national TV advertising? Hey, nothing is cancellable in the fourth quarter. However, if advertisers would like to spend more, networks will be happy to consider their money.

So the screens tell us everything is all right for the moment. Consumers might not figure out exactly what is going on with the U.S. government shutdown -- because in large part, it hasn’t hit them close to home. For instance, can I still buy gas for my car? Check. Can I still get my iced Americano with an inch of soy milk at Starbucks? Yes.

But come Oct. 17, more severe economic troubles could occur. That’s when the U.S. could default on its debt, which could mean some major rumblings in the U.S. market -- like perhaps that 15,000 Dow level falling to say 11,000.

Do I have your attention -- and that of your 401K -- now?

Until then, what’s to worry about? “Brooklyn Nine Nine” was on last night.

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