"Pharmaceutical advertising has exploded over the past decade to become the 10th-largest advertising category in the U.S. ... Last year, expenditures for prescription-drug ads jumped 24% to $3.21 billion." After Merck recalled its arthritis and pain medicine Vioxx, direct-to-consumer drug advertising is facing renewed scrutiny.
"WPP Group's agreement to buy Grey Global Group solidifies ad industry power in the hands of four big firms," reports the Wall Street Journal. "The takeover also will give WPP access to Grey's long relationships with such clients as Procter & Gamble, one of the world's biggest advertising spenders. ... During the past decade, ad holding companies rushed to gobble up agencies to serve more clients. ...
"If you're some group with an agenda, an ax to grind or an issue to promote, now's the time," said the Campaign Media Analysis Group's president. "Political advertising by smaller groups, and individuals in some cases, is popping up across the country," reports Associated Press, "on top of the millions of dollars that larger, partisan groups have spent" on ads.
"Continuing a twenty-year trend that has seen advertising expenses skyrocket as traditional political party organizing has fallen by the wayside, the total for political ads this election year is estimated by most industry analysts at over $1.5 billion, $400 million of which will be spent by the presidential campaigns," report Sakura Saunders and Ben Clarke. "Over the last 24 years, broadcast TV advertising alone has increased from $90 million to over a $1 billion.
The Democratic 527 group America Coming Together "is deploying thousands of supporters with PalmOne hand-helds to battleground states to play electronic ads individually for voters." The 15 state, $125 million get-out-the-vote effort's "canvassers were already using 2,000 Palms to track voters. ... [An] advertising consultant ...
"Remember how the broadcast networks explained that they would cover only three hours of each of the four-day Democratic and Republican conventions because they are nothing more than infomercials?" asks Lisa de Moraes. Well, ABC and CBS will run "infomercials for products in which the networks have a financial interest" on their Friday newsmagazines. ABC will feature Victoria Gotti, of "Growing Up Gotti" on A&E, owned in part by ABC.
The U.S. Army's $200 million advertising account is in review. According to the trade journal Advertising Age, the five-year-old "Army of One" tagline may be "out of touch" with the reality of war. The Army will use its ad campaign as its most public face as it tries to recruit 80,000 new soldiers next year. But the Army has to be "careful," Evan Wright, a Rolling Stone journalist and author of Generation Kill. Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War, told Advertising Age.
If you're interested in reliving the TV advertisements from previous presidential elections, the American Museum of the Moving Image has put together an archive featuring every ad from every election since TV first infected politics in 1952. Our favorite is "Failure," a 1968 ad by candidate Richard Nixon.
"When a beautiful girl walks up to you, and she's wearing the TV commercial on her chest, you just can't get away from it," enthused Adam Hollander, head of The Brand Marketers and creator of T-Shirt TV. The shirts contain speakers and 11-inch TV screens, which can show video ads, flash animation or slides.
"A new series of whimsical public service announcements from the Environmental Protection Agency are lampooning the notion that cars can be made more energy efficient while the ads encourage conservation at home," reports Danny Hakim. The ads depict a wacky home inventor trying to make his car more fuel-efficient by adding a sail and "a helium tank with a bulbous hose ...