The Recession Is Not Just Bad News

There’s nothing good about a recession; or is there? Advertising Age has a very interesting article called Where to Find the Bright Spots in 2009. Here are the bright spots along with a short part of the description from the article:

  • Washington. In case you hadn’t heard, there are some new faces in the nation’s capital, and they will fuel growth for lobbying, public affairs and policy advertising in ’09.
  • Package-goods. Package goods marketers still have relatively flush budgets, can benefit from falling media rates as whole industries such as automotive pull back, and are starting to see relief from once-soaring commodity costs.
  • DRTV. These are salad days for direct-response advertisers of all sorts, as a growing glut of TV inventory has improved industry economics after the go-go years earlier in the decade drove some off the air.
  • Beer. Budget beer brands saw sales climb about 8% in December. Big gainers included Keystone and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
  • Online Video. In the U.S., online video will continue to rise dramatically relative to other online advertising channels in the next few years, dwarfing growth in search, display ads and rich media.
  • Hispanics. Hispanics account for about 50% of the population growth in the U.S., and the Pew Research Center forecasts that Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, up from 14% in 2005.
  • E-BOOKS. The wireless reading device [Kindle] was Amazon’s best-selling item in the electronics category in 2008.
  • Public Relations. If ever there was a business built to be counter-cyclical, it was crisis PR.
  • Cable TV, Marketing Consulting. Cable employment in November reached a record high of 96,900 jobs, according to the data. Cable networks are doing comparatively well in a slumping ad market.
  • Digital Out Of Home. Digital out of home is entering 2009 already in a position of growth, finishing 2008 with $2.43 billion in ad dollars, an 11% increase from 2007.
  • Mobile. Mobile will continue to be a growth area, and vendors remain bullish. More advertisers are expected to dip their toes this year, while others will plow ahead in their experimentation.
  • Pet Care. Fido is recession proof, judging by a 17.1% increase in fourth-quarter sales of dry dog food, according to Information Resources Inc. data from Deutsche Bank.
  • Marketing Analytics.The marketing industry’s growing love affair with data and analytics is as passionate as ever, and the recession will doubtless drive more brand managers into the arms of the data wonks.  
  • CBS. While every broadcast network is losing viewers, CBS is losing fewer of them.
  • Luxury Recycling. This recession will bring in new form of sustainability: luxury recycling. Take the firm Cash4Gold, which, um, will pay you cash for your gold chains, watches, rings and even dental fillings.
  • China. The Chinese government is pushing through a massive $582 billion stimulus package, and China’s GDP is expected to grow 8.5% in 2009.
  • Package and Fast Food. Cheap food is about as recession-proof as it gets, because, you know, we all have mouths and stomachs. 
  • Online Coupons. According to ComScore, coupon sites were the fastest-growing online category in November by traffic, up 32% from October to 35.6 million.  
  • Gun Sales. Smith & Wesson’s shares are up 82% since October, a run fueled by fears of President-elect Barack Obama’s gun-control views.

The bottom line: Good luck finding your silver linings in the recession.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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