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Companies ease up on the holiday ads

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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past a retail store advertising a Black Friday sale on November 27, 2020, in New York.

A pedestrian walks past a store advertising a Black Friday sale in New York. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

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Holidays are coming up and with them, holiday advertisements. This is usually one of the biggest seasons for automakers and retailers. You may have already started hearing the jingles and taglines, but maybe not as many.

That’s because TV advertising for several product categories, including luxury cars, is down compared with 2019, according to ad analytics company EDO.

“You know, our expectation is that that’s going to continue to show weakness for the rest of this year and well into 2022 because of the global supply chain problems that these automakers are suffering from,” said Kevin Krim, CEO. Krim said companies don’t want to advertise something that might not be in stock. 

University of Texas at Austin marketing professor Tracey Arrington said that’s fair. 

“The cardinal sin in the advertising space is to invite someone to purchase a product that you don’t actually have to sell them. Most people have very short attention spans and very low levels of patience. So, if you make a mistake like that, you could not only not make the sale, you could actually cause long-term damage to your brand,” Arrington said.

This year, all the uncertainty is making companies wait longer to buy ads and avoid promoting individual products.

“That’s actually a bit refreshing, because the obsession with performance marketing, I believe sometimes leaves opportunities off the table for brands,” Arrington said.

In times of uncertainty, there are other points to hit, said David Marcotte with Kantar Consulting.

“It’s going to be a lot of feel good stuff. You know, home for the holidays and you know we’re part of your family,” he said.

Or, Marcotte added, some companies are promoting an upcoming product they don’t yet have. Like some new electric vehicles.

“But if you notice it, they’re not really focusing on the product itself, they’re focusing on the innovation and the wonder of it,” he said, adding that the priority for brands this holiday season is just reminding you they exist.

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