Flickr user/nightlife fiend Spanier has put together a nice set of photos showcasing empty billboards in Hamburg. He shares his observations and writes:
I don’t know why there are so many empty billboards right now in Hamburg. Maybe some of the companies placing billboards went bankrupt, maybe it’s just because it’s January and they all spent so much money on advertising for Christmas, or maybe it’s this financial crisis making some companies seriously rethink the way they advertise. Well in any case, every empty billboard is a beautiful one. Maybe it is time to start using them for our creations. Or just pull them down.
The question we’re left with is – are companies seriously cutting down their outdoor media budgets? Is this just a coincidence or some sort of Adbusters-style work?
The scenario presented by Spanier is proving true for atleast one company – Axel Springer, Germany’s biggest publisher of newspapers, who has already called off all of their promotional events in 2009:
To date, despite the obvious signs of economic gloom, Axel Springer AG has weathered the crisis well and been able to avoid drastic cutbacks affecting staff, publications or online products. Every effort is to be made in future to keep things this way. So far the best defense has been rigorous attention to cost management and this course will continue. In view of falling advertising revenues and the difficulty of making any kind of forecast for the coming year, the executive board today decided to suspend corporate events for 2009.
The ramifications for media and advertising agencies involved could be serious. But the effects will certainly be felt beyond these domains – if big companies really pull out of the ad circle in 2009, what impact will this have on other creative industries?