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A History Lesson on Marketing During an Economic Downturn


When times are good, you should advertise when times are bad, you must advertise. This was written by Bruce Barton almost 100 years ago and it’s still relevant today. Let’s talk about what history has to teach us about marketing during a downturn, let’s talk about it now.

In the 1930s Kellogg’s destroyed Post cereal. Prior to that Post was leading the ready-to-eat breakfast market. But then the depression hit, and Post pulled back a lot of their advertising or as Kellogg’s doubled their advertising. As a result, Kellogg’s improved their profits by 30% and they’ve dominated the market ever since. Whereas Post isn’t even the top 10 today.

In the 1960s Volkswagen dominated the importing market of cars into the US. The Beetle was everywhere. And then in 1973 because of the recession caused by the energy crisis the US government put out that the Toyota Corolla had actually improved and better miles per gallon. As a result Toyota was going to pull back their advertising budget, but they resisted and kept it where it was. By 1976 Toyota was the leading importer of cars in the US and they’ve never looked back. And they are still the number one importer of cars into the US to this day.

During the 1990s recession McDonalds slashed their advertising budget, whereas Taco Bell and Pizza Hut kept there’s the same. The result Pizza Hut saw their increased profits of 61% whereas Taco Bell saw their profits increased 40%. McDonald’s saw there’s decreased by 28%. So, while McDonalds is still the number one fast food chain in the country the economic downturn and keeping their advertising where it should have been during that economic downturn gave Taco Bell and Pizza Hut much-needed market share during that time.

I have never seen any study that shows that being timid is the path to success. Consistently studies show that businesses that happen intelligence and the guts to maintain or increase their advertising and marketing during times of business downturns will gain the edge over there more timid competitors. If you want to talk about how you want to increase your marketing during this economic downturn we’d love to chat. I’m Jeff with Flying Chimp. Remember be safe; be kind; be compassionate; #passthehat and help local businesses that have been affected during the Covid-19 crisis and I’ll see you next time.

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