Adspend in a recession

US optimism contains some practical lessons

Dr Simon Broadbent

Long-term US series data, voiced in a recent AAA document, says it pays to advertise when things look bad. For the critical, there are some flaws in the arguments, but also six heartening lessons.

How should American advertisers cope with the recession? Advice comes from the American Association of Advertising Agencies.* There are three main sections: two have direct application in the UK.


The first section collects economic data on previous recessions, the purpose being to emphasise that manufacturers should not panic. In the US, there has been an official recession (six consecutive months of downturn in GNP) every four or five years since 1854. Over the past 45 years, the average recession has lasted 7 to 17 months.

From a marketing standpoint, recessions are neither unexpected, nor do they last a long time.