Aug 24

Icon of an era

Adweek_logo250x80 Thinking it was junk mail, I very nearly tossed the most recent issue of Adweek in the circular file. The publication was breathtakingly thin: only 22 pages.

It contained the usual news items and creative reviews, but this puny remnant of a once robust media property struck me as being emblematic of the advertising industry as a whole.

Of all the marketing disciplines, advertising has taken the biggest hit in the recent recession. Cost-conscious clients finally woke up to the excesses and wastes inherent in general advertising and reallocated their dollars to social media, public relations and direct mail. Faced with the reality of clients who were no longer willing to pay 15 percent commissions on media buys, ad agencies were forced to take Draconian measures. And, the media that covers them has had to follow suit.

Adweek isn't alone, though. Advertising Age has taken a hit as well. And, in my industry, we've seen PR Week go from a weekly to a monthly (but, strangely, preserve its original moniker. Which makes me wonder: If the Daily News went weekly, would it still call itself by its former name?).

I'm sure Adweek will survive in some mode, perhaps going entirely online. I do hope the physical publication sticks around for a while, though. I can't imagine a Monday morning without reading Barbara Lippert's scalding take on the latest mediocre advertising campaign or glancing at Adweek's 'By the numbers' snapshot (how else will I ever know which geographic market spends the most on auto maintenance? It's San Francisco, btw).