Economic crisis favors on-line advertising


Posted at Jun 15 2008 10:43 PM | Updated as of Jun 16 2008 06:43 AM


PARIS - Online advertising will be a key topic when world advertising leaders gather in Cannes on the French Riviera from Sunday as the industry tries to weather tough economic times.

Around 12,000 ad agency employees, art directors, marketers, producers, clients and other industry executives are expected to attend the week-long Cannes Lions 2008 festival that kicks off on June 15.

Held on the scenic La Croisette waterfront, it is famous for its lavish boat trips and all-night parties, which give agencies an opportunity to lure clients and to shop for creative talents.

The festival, in its 55th year, awards excellence with the so-called Lions trophies and hosts seminars and workshops. In a sign of how crucial the Internet has become to advertising, the Film Lions awards now includes films for Internet and mobiles.

The $40 billion online advertising market remains a bright spot in a global industry facing dire times with soaring oil prices and an economic slowdown denting clients' budgets.

Market-data company IDC said recently that while it expected a potential recession to curb U.S. ad spending across all media by as much as 7 percent in 2008, quarterly online ad growth would still increase by around 15-20 percent in 2008.

"What happens is that the current economic crisis puts pressure on advertisers to save money and find more effective marketing channels," the report quoted Karsten Weide, program director, Digital Marketplace and New Media at IDC, as saying.

"Effectively, the crisis accelerates the shift of advertising budgets from traditional media into new media."

IDC also forecast that U.S. Internet advertising spending will more than double in five years.

Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP, the world's 2nd-largest ad firm, will moderate the "Cannes Debate" seminar where Microsoft, Yahoo and Google officials will discuss how the online world changes the way the ad industry operates.

Other Cannes high-profile attendees such as Publicis Chairman Maurice Levy, Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore, or media mogul Rupert Murdoch, are also likely to ponder the implications of Web pioneer Yahoo letting rival Google sell search ads on its site and of the failed talks between Yahoo and Microsoft.

The festival runs from June 15 to 21.