Awoke this morning to closed schools and a prediction by Barclays that ad spending would be down by 10 percent next year, a revision downward from a prediction a mere two months ago of a 5.5 percent decline. At this point, having read so many of these spending predictions, I feel like we're all trapped in a game in which the winner is the advertising analyst who can predict the most doom-and-gloom. Maybe next week, ZenithOptimedia or someone will come out saying ad spending will be down 11 percent next year. Do I hear 12? Who's gonna predict 12?
The problem with these predictions of ad spending declines, of course, is that they're self-fulfilling. That has always been the case, but this time it's worse. Predicting that ad spending will be down by 10 percent seems to cause many to cut ad spending by 10 percent, like there's some unwritten rule they must follow along. I'm not saying things aren't bad out there: they are. But this is getting ridiculous. Thus, I hereby declare a moratorium on all ad spending predictions for 2009. We can pick up the topic again about a year from now.