November 15, 2005

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AAF Survey Reveals Online Spending Up, Caution and Concern Over Emerging Media Technologies

Leading Ad Execs Find Blogs and Podcasts Weak Advertising Vehicles, Name Coca-Cola as Most Respected Brand

WASHINGTON, D.C.— A study conducted for the American Advertising Federation (AAF) reveals surprising attitudes among leading advertising industry executives regarding current media challenges. While industry leaders are very concerned about new media, most are tentative about its effectiveness. Blogs, podcasts and Web-enabled cell phones are seen as relatively weak advertising vehicles. Of all nontraditional ad tactics, the single-sponsor buyout of media, e.g. Target and The New Yorker, was rated the most effective. However, the share of spending for online advertising (once nontraditional) is expected to continue growing, and there is a more rapid shift predicted toward such advertising than previously expected.

Traditional advertising challenges remain major industry concerns, such as demonstrating ROI, creating ideas that break through the clutter and integrating creative across media channels. However, new technologies that threaten traditional ads and the impact of new media on consumer attitudes and behavior are among the top five most important business challenges. Fifty-eight percent of ad execs have already changed or expect to change their ad buys in response to DVRs, and many maintain that such technology will have a significant impact on the 30-second spot.

The survey also asked a number of lifestyle questions related to industry success. While most industry leaders (84 percent) report satisfaction with balancing their personal and professional lives, they also perceive careers in advertising to be more demanding than in other sectors. The perceived health of the industry in terms of long-term career prospects and overall career appeal has declined since last year, with the attraction and retention of talent showing a slight increase.

Prepared by Atlantic Media Company, the third annual AAF Survey of Industry Leaders on Advertising Trendscompiled the responses of 75 industry leaders who represent all sectors of the industry, with over 90 percent having at least 11 years of experience in advertising and more than 50 percent having over 25 years. A copy of the AAF Survey of Industry Leaders on Advertising Trends is available as both a PDF (2.2 MB) and a PowerPoint document (1.5 MB).

    Additional findings include the following:
  • The majority of industry leaders (81 percent) cite mentorship as important to their personal career success, and 96 percent choose to mentor young professionals.
  • The relative importance of reaching multicultural audiences has increased over the past year, and the perceived difficulty of targeting/reaching these audiences has mostly decreased.
  • The "priority gap" between Hispanic consumers and other segments is narrowing.
  • Top brands are (in order) Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Google and a tie between FedEx and BMW.
  • The top campaigns of the year were (in order) Apple iPod, Burger King, Target, Mini Cooper and a three-way tie for Hewlett-Packard, UPS and Verizon.
  • Most respected industry leaders include Mary Wells Lawrence, David Ogilvy, Renetta McCann, Leo Burnett and Bill Bernbach.
  • Industry leaders do display a bullish attitude on the state of the advertising economy, with 60 percent stating the industry is in recovery.
  • The most important factor in achieving success in the industry is "integrity."

The survey was released in conjunction with the Advertising Hall of Achievement in New York City. The event featured a lineup of influential industry CEOs and top-level executives who are recipients of this prestigious award.

Read the full survey:
- Adobe Acrobat PDF (2.2 MB)
- PowerPoint document (1.5 MB)

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The American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., acts as the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." The AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country. Through its 215 college chapters, the AAF provides 6,500 advertising students with real-world case studies and recruitment connections to corporate America. The AAF also has 130 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies and media companies, comprising the nation's leading brands and corporations. For more information, visit the AAF's Web site at