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Art & Commerce

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Pedal Pushing McCann-Erickson's Bob Coen unveiled his forecast for ad spending in '98 at PaineWebber's media conference last week. (He expects local advertising to rise 6.1 percent to $81.5 billion; national 6.3 percent to $116.9 billion.) Somewhat overlooked was the fact that he revised his expectations for '97, adding a percentage point to the growth-rate estimate, equivalent to finding an extra $2 billion. The economy, as it turned out, was much stronger in '97 than many observers, including Coen, expected 12 months ago. The estimates for '98 are keyed to an economy that will grow by 2.5 percent before inflation. That would represent a dropoff from the 3.7 percent pace of '97 and result in ad growth of 6.2 percent. But are there any signs of an impending slowdown? One European executive who has been coming to the conference for 10 years says he's never seen so much bustle in the U.S. He points out that for the economy to slow down in '98, it would have to hit the brakes right now. If any pedal's being floored, he says, it's the accelerator. --Alan Gottesman
(westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.
THE GOTTESMAN FILE
National advertising outlook, with the latest revision for 1997 and a first peek at 1998

1997 1998 Change
Big 4 networks $13.28 $14.01 5.5%
Other TV $17.66 $19.12 8.3%
Radio $2.90 $3.09 6.6%
Magazines $9.98 $10.53 5.5%
Newspapers $4.84 $5.06 4.5%
Total $109.95 $116.93 6.3%
Source: McCann-Erickson. Dollar figures in billions