The 98th annual meeting of the Association of National Advertisers took place last week, and the main topic of discussion was the current economic conditions. The association consists of 400 companies with estimated ad/marketing spending of $100 billion annually, and its members voiced concerns about what the future may hold and how consumer fears are influencing their spending. Some speakers warned against panicking, noting that now is the time for investing in the brand, as opposed to pulling money out. The following is an excerpt from The New York Times article on the meeting: “The entreaties of the speakers may have influenced the estimated 1,200 attendees at the conference, based on results of instant polls during two general sessions. Asked about immediate plans, 33 percent of respondents said they would maintain the level of their marketing spending, 33 percent said they would reduce spending and 27 percent said they would spend more. (The rest were unsure.) And when asked about 2009 compared with 2008, the largest number of respondents, 28 percent, predicted stability, followed by 26 percent who forecast spending increases of more than 10 percent. Nineteen percent predicted decreases of more than 10 percent, 14 percent predicted decreases of less than 10 percent, and 13 percent predicted growth of less than 10 percent.” To read the entire article, click here.