How media in 2012 was like Mad Monday

Peter MillerIn this guest post, AdStream’s Peter Miller argues that the public are ready to spend if advertisers give them reasons to.

The scene I am surveying right now resembles a Rugby League Mad Monday event. The newspapers started the year poorly and have and continue to cough and splutter. TV is flat. Magazines have been hammered. Radio has gone really well. Cinema has gone mental; Outdoor continues to go well and Digital has slowed to normal double digit growth.

It all adds up to slightly wonky flat. As a good media mate of mine declared, “Pete, flat’s the new black”.

Given that marketers rarely predict their own conservatism, this suggests that there are large bags of un-spent cash weighing heavily in the pockets of CMOs all over the country.

These cashed up marketers must be simply desperate for a decent sales pitch and an ounce of hope.

Frankly, just as Americans must have been bored rigid by the relentless presidential campaigning, I reckon consumers are sick to death of saving money and being miserable.

Click Frenzy, which was preceded by a wall of PR sound, rather proves the point doesn’t it? I mean the nerds forgot to talk to the sale muggles and it got smashed and tanked thus pissing off millions of punters. Not good. And now everyone hates them. Also not good. But why?

Because it got hammered by consumers willing to get down and spend.

Clearly what consumers need is inspirational, vivid, and entertaining campaigns with some real media dollars behind them that will gee ‘em into raiding the money jar.

Some leadership by our political leaders would also help. Julia could buy a fabulous new Bermuda jacket and set the economy going one sleeve at a time. Tony could shock the nation by acquiring some lairy boardies and for a moment at least, be a bit positive. The last time I saw Tony upbeat was in the immediate aftermath of making Sydney University a fun free zone.

They are both being entirely outshone in the outshining department by our media agency leaders, who, praise the Lord, are almost universally picking an upswing in advertising spend in the New Year, even if we have to wait to April for it.

  • Peter Miller is the managing director of AdStream


  1. Me
    4 Dec 12
    12:45 pm

  2. “I reckon consumers are sick to death of saving money and being miserable.”

    They’re not saving. Eastern Australia is in a recession.

    Combine that with the ongoing dismantlement of inefficient legacy distribution networks, and you have a double-whammy for local advertising.

    Australian consumers won’t be returning to pre-2007 drunk-on-debt spending habits – ever. Get used to it. If anything, 2013 will be a much worse year as the GFC 2.0 rolls inexorably onwards and the high Aussie dollar and permanent shift to online (overseas) shopping habits accelerate.

  3. Bob
    5 Dec 12
    9:38 am

  4. “I reckon consumers are sick to death of saving money and being miserable.”

    Nope, I’m saving and feeling fine. Much better than the people who overspend and have credit card debts they can never pay off.

  5. D1CK0
    5 Dec 12
    11:42 am

  6. Click Frenzy didn’t fall over because of people wanting to buy, it fell over because of people wanting to browse. There’s a difference.

  7. Ryoma
    6 Dec 12
    11:44 am

  8. I agree with both Me and Bob. I’m saving, because the ad agencies just don’t get it, and the era of Baby Boomer-led “conspicuous consumption” is gone forever.

    Those of us now in or entering our 40’s face a very different world than our BB counterparts did 20 years ago. Yes, there was a bad recession at that point in time, but it was a temporary thing – meaning that when the economy recovered, that group of people could pick up their spending behaviours again without learning anything.

    For my bunch, we now live in a global world; our jobs can be outsourced, and if not, well, the firms we work for are under immense pressure. We still have HECS debts to pay off, and in many cases, we are still studying, because the concept of a “job for life” is gone for good.

    Thanks to the greed of the previous generation, many of us cannot get a foot on the housing ladder, and the sharemarket is flat, because the retiring BB’s are starting to pull money out of the market to cover the fact they (surprise!) haven’t saved enough for retirement.

    Those of us with kids face higher costs across the board, thanks to the move to two-income households. Yes, there is government help, but the floor price of paying for the basic goods is much higher than it was. Some of this is our own fault.

    But there are two big things not generally recognised. Those of us with parents now living on pensions who pre-date the BBs are finding their health is starting to fail, so we need to dig in for health care and in some cases, to help them to pay bills.

    Secondly, having seen the stupidity of the BBs across the board in regards to not saving for retirement, we are determined not to make the same mistakes, because we know full well that there will be no pensions for us at all, while we pay the taxes for BB healthcare.

    And with all of us this going on, advertising firms and retailers expect us to spend like drunken sailors? Dream on, Einsteins.

  9. John
    6 Dec 12
    3:37 pm

  10. Ryoma, are you serious? The most conspicuous consumers are the brand obsessed Gen X/Gen Y consumer. Whining about BB’s doesn’t pave over the fact that you materialistic over-consumption and lack of care for the future had a big part in creating the GFC in the first place… you voted for middle class welfare time and time again, that’s what going to break the country….

    After reading your note again i think you’re messing with us…no one can be that self -centered

  11. Ryoma
    6 Dec 12
    5:13 pm

  12. Hi John

    Actually, I was letting off steam, and now I am calmer (!), I agree with much of what you say. There are indeed plenty of people in each generation who spend well beyond their means, and who fail to think about the future.

    I couldn’t agree more with you about the middle-class welafre, as I don’t get any at all! :)

    Just like the USA, we need to realise that nobody owes us a living, and that the things government hands out to us are not entitlements or rights, but actually have to paid for by someone.

    The challenge for younger generations is to not simply follow in the footsteps of the Baby Boomers in terms of materialistic over-consumption.