Media owners urge business 'advertise to avoid downward spiral'

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With bookings showing a disturbing downward trend, Australian media companies have launched a campaign to remind businesses why it's even more important to advertise when times get tough.

With the country avoiding recession by the narrowest of margins - and perhaps the power of statistics - the campaign urges investing money in advertising, "not just despite a tightening economic situation but because of it".

Publisher partners include News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media. Also backing the message are 10, ACE Radio, Australian Radio Network, Foxtel, Grant Broadcasting, JCDecaux, Macquarie Media, Nova, Ooh Mediaand Southern Cross Austero, which has announced 90 redundancies.

The campaign - developed with Publicis Group's creative team at Saatchi and Saatchi - is supported by industry bodies Think TV, Outdoor Media Association, Commercial Radio Australia and News Media Works.

A teaser campaign began yesterday (Sunday) across outdoor, radio, premium digital, print and television, with the full campaign to include "evolutions in the creative message" and a high-profile celebrity in coming weeks.

The message is that advertising is an investment proven to deliver long-term, top-line growth for businesses, and that while reducing it comes at the cost of future revenue growth - "the beginning of a downward spiral" for business in general.

The tongue-in-cheek, channel-specific executions are designed to remind the C-suite of the importance of advertising, with the hook message that 'If your brand's not here, it's nowhere'.

A new website at reminds business leaders of the dangers of not investing in promoting their products and services, and the impact that not advertising will have on profit and earnings.

Spokesperson Mark Ritson said there were three key messages for those who manage Australia's corporate budgets: "First, continue to invest money in advertising, not just despite a tightening economic situation but because of it.

"Second, make sure at least half your budget is invested on the top of the funnel and on long-term brand building, not just on short-term spending.

"And finally, don't fall for the siren song of new, exaggerated media opportunities at the expense of proven long-term, brand-building media."

October's Standard Media Index figures showed an 8.5 per cent fall in ad spend by media agencies - having predicted this would be the month in which things turned back upwards.

In The Australian today, News Corp Australia managing director of national sales Lou Barrett notes that July and August were the worst she had seen in 35 years in the industry: "It's extremely tough. December and January are really tough. It's no longer cyclical, the cycle has changed."

Pictured: Lou Barrett (second from right) with Kurt Burnett, Mark Fain, Leana Dubois, Michael Stephenson and David Scribner (photo: David Hahn);
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