The Financial Times has launched an ad campaign featuring billboards stripped almost bare to question the wisdom of slashing advertising budgets in the economic downturn. The billboard campaign, launched by DDB London on Monday October 20. Specially commissioned billboard sites have been created to look as if they have been stripped back to bare boards, with just a small panel of FT-branded copy in the top corner. Copy in the ad asks the question “Global downturn. What’s the first mistake businesses make?”.
The Beat The Downturn billboard campaign, to be supplemented by trade press advertisements, directs consumers to the website ft.com/budgets. The site is designed to spark debate about why companies often respond to an economic slump by slashing marketing budgets. The Financial Times is suggesting that companies that keep up their spending on ads take market share from rivals and grow quicker when the economic outlook improves.
The Beat The Downturn site provides evidence to suggest that companies that continue to invest in advertising in tough times emerge stronger than those that don’t. In the 1930s depression, for example, Kellogg’s maintained its marketing spend while Post did not. Kellogg then dominated the dry cereal market for the next half-century.
“This new creative could not be more topical and supports the argument that cutting back on advertising spend in recessionary or turbulent times hands a significant advantage to your competitors,” said the FT’s global marketing director, Frances Brindle.