If you were unfortunate enough to read all mainstream coverage of the marketing and advertising industries every day, you would—as I have—come to the conclusion that this financial crisis is the greatest thing to ever happen to the reporters on those beats. That's because all they had to do was write three stories: The ad industry outlook is bad. Nobody's buying bullshit ads that don't work any more. And, hey, everyone sure is advertising a lot of sales now! The marketing reporters at all the papers filed these stories weeks ago, and then took off on a leave of absence, probably to become hookers or drug dealers like the other smart people do during recessions. And now: ...their papers just reword those stories and run them day after day, until the Dow breaks 12,000 again. NYT today:

AS the year began, consumers started to see a trickle of advertisements that played up brand value rather than attributes like status or prestige. As the economy worsened in the spring and summer, the trickle became a torrent. Now, as the crisis in finance continues, a veritable tidal wave of ads devoted to saving money is washing over the country.

Etc. WSJ today:

As the economy continues to sour, marketers are rethinking the best offers and incentives to dangle in front of a newly budget-conscious public. But figuring out what offers will resonate is a tough task, with the media landscape already littered with companies crowing about discounts and good values.

Etc. The only theme more tired than these: whining about how every ad is the same now.