"Financial ad spending might be soft over the next quarter or so," an executive tells Adweek today. We were like, ha, might be? "Soft?" Quite a gift for understatement, greasy ad dude. Or so we thought! But the optimistic take on reality is that the burning of Wall Street might not be so bad for the ad industry. In fact for some lucky agencies, it will be a freaking bonanza!

"Financial ad spending might be soft over the next quarter or so," said Hal Vogel, president of Vogel Capital Management. "However, once Bank of America gets hold of Merrill [Lynch], there will be a massive national ad campaign, so this will help newspapers [and others] starting late in the first quarter." The same could be true for U.K. banking firm Barclays, which agreed Tuesday to acquire parts of Lehman Bros.

Whenever one company gets absorbed into another, the buyer always feels the need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a massive worldwide "rebranding" campaign, that will deliver the sophisticated message: "The old place has changed its name now." So whoever lands those accounts will be set for the year. Financial companies overall account for about 10% of ad spending. And last year they spent 15% more than in the previous year. So, even if finance companies continue to tank, the entire downturn may only amount to a return to 2006 spending levels. Unless shit gets apocalyptic. Which it probably will. [Adweek]