Mad Men Take Hit: NY Ad Spending Down As Much As 15 Percent

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New York's advertising industry took a big hit this year with total ad spending estimated to be down as much as 15 percent. It's causing some executives to rethink their approach. WNYC's Lisa Chow reports.

REPORTER: 2009 could turn out to be the worst year in decades for the ad industry. John Seifert is CEO of Ogilvy and Mather North America.

SEIFERT: You almost never see a decline in total advertising spending, and to see the kinds of declines we've seen this year are almost unprecedented.

REPORTER: Seifert says brands also shifted their ad spending abroad, to focus more on consumers in China, Brazil and India. More fundamentally, he says, companies are trying to figure out what types of advertising really work, given the explosion in digital marketing and social media.

SEIFERT: And so what we have been working with most of our clients is experiment, try new things, measure it. I mean there's been an unprecedented demand for measurement.

REPORTER: He says Ogilvy's workforce shrunk this year, but it's growing in one area: analytics, looking at the numbers behind the ad. For WNYC, I'm Lisa Chow.