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Scott Jagow: There's a new TV ad that caught our attention. It tells people they should spend their money at the store instead of shopping online. Hmmm. Ashley Milne-Tyte looked into it.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: Lee Baldock runs two gift stores in Reno, Nevada. He says consumers don't often consider the trickle-down effect of shopping locally.

Lee Baldock: If you shop with me, I pay my staff, my staff goes to the local restaurant and spends their money. So y'know, the money stays in the neighborhood.

In its ad, The International Council of Shopping Centers prods consumers to think about their local economy.

Ad: With much of local government's revenue generated by sales tax, municipalities are bracing for a shortfall this holiday season.

So the ad suggests it's almost your civic duty to shop -- as long as it's not on the Internet.

Mike Kercheval is the Council's president:

Mike Kercheval: We first of all hope that the guilt of shopping in a way will be absolved a little bit, someone would say, well, I'm doing a good thing for my community.

He says pricking consumers' conscience is a first for his group. But tough times call for innovative tactics.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.