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What Will a Recession Mean for Ad Sales?

Arm yourself with a letter—and an ad from 1935.

Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon
01/24/2008 -15:01 PM

In the a last few weeks I have heard of several ad programs being cut back or put on hold because of concerns that a recession is coming. During the 2002 ad recession, I wrote and distributed this letter with great effect. It shows how advertisers who maintain exposure during the slow times move ahead of competitors who don't and gives a great example of a product that benefited from this exposure, Kellogg's Corn flakes. Here is the introductory copy:

Should You Advertise During a Recession?

Consider this ad from 1935 and how it affects buying today. Advertising dollars spent during slow times are the best investment a company can make. In 1929, rival cereal makers Kellogg’s and Post were in a close race to win the breakfast cereal market. When the Great Depression started, Kellogg’s maintained their advertising spending while rival Post cut back.

At the end of the Depression, Kellogg’s had achieved a category dominance that they maintain to this day.

On your next call, Download and print out the memo. Show them the old Kellogg's ad that ran at the height of the American Depression and remind them that it was during The Depression, when Post cereals cut their ad budget and Kellogg's did not, that Kellogg's became the category leader.

Now ask, "How many more boxes of Kellogg's product have been sold long after The Depression ended because someone had the vision to see a time of economic slowdown as the time to pull ahead of competition?"

DOWNLOAD: Cornflakes Promo Letter


Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon -- Josh Gordon is president of Smarter Media where he works with publishers to maximize their online and print revenue through training, consulting, and representation.

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