Here’s a stimulus plan: Buy advertising

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Writing in Fortune magazine, Bob Pittman suggests that the government’s stimulus plan won’t work unless we get consumers spending again. What’s missing from Washington’s economic prescription? Advertising.


“It’s a mistake to think of advertising merely as a cost – it’s an investment,” Pittman wrote, as he argued for giving businesses incentives to advertise as part of the government’s effort to stimulate the economy.

Pittman disclosed that he does have a personal interest as an investor in advertising-supported businesses. He didn’t name them, but in broadcasting his Pilot Group is the backer of Barrington Broadcasting in television and Double O Radio.

But Pittman said its his experience on both sides of the fence, both the buying and selling side of advertising, has given him a “healthy respect for the power and necessity of strong advertising to the success of any business.” He worries that many businesses have responded to the economic crisis by radically cutting costs, including advertising. That, he suggests, may be responsible for some of the current drop in consumer spending.

Advertising is already a deductible business expense, but Pittman argues for more – perhaps a tax credit, to help spur the economy.

But enough of our description. Read what Bob Pittman had to say for yourself.

RBR/TVBR observation: It seems to us that candidate Barack Obama understood the value of advertising last year. Maybe Bob Pittman and other business leaders of influence can convince President Barack Obama of the value of advertising to boost consumer spending and help get the US economy back on track.