September 11 Advertising to Run As Normal

12 August 2003

America’s marketers and broadcasters plan to treat September 11 2003 as a normal day, with no disruption to advertising.

In 2002, many TV networks ran special news coverage and marketers pulled advertising to mark the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Spot, network and cable adspend totalled $57.8 million (€51.1m; £36.0m) for the day, down 54.6% on the average for the previous five weekdays.

However, there are no such plans this year. Coca-Cola, which dropped its ads on September 11 2002, has revealed it does not intend to do so this year. And American Express, which cancelled advertising for the entire week of last year’s anniversary, will also proceed as normal next month.

These plans were confirmed by media buyers. “It will be even less of a big deal – possibly no deal – this year,” said Richard Hamilton ceo of ZenithOptimedia in the Americas.

In part this reflects the lack of commemorative TV news coverage, as such programming would deter advertisers from the September 11 schedules. ABC, Fox and CBS all plan to stick to their regular entertainment line-up, while NBC expects to take its usual advertising haul.

Continued Hamilton: "I don't believe that this date either should or will become some sort of grave holiday."

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff