Finance Firms Slash Ad Spending, per Nielsen

NEW YORK As the financial crisis unfolded in dramatic fashion last month, credit card companies and advertisers in other finance-related categories sharply curtailed their TV advertising, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Most of the top credit advertisers, including Capital One, Discover, Synovus, Washington Mutual and Visa, reduced their TV ad spending during the first three weeks of September, per Nielsen.

As a group, credit card companies scaled back their TV ads by almost 24 percent during that period, per Nielsen

Other financial service categories are also off sharply during the same time frame, including mortgage services (-50 percent), mutual funds (-29 percent) and loan companies (-7 percent).

Mortgage and mutual funds began cutting back earlier in the year. During July and August, for example, mortgage company TV ads dropped 54 percent and mutual funds TV spots were off 23 percent.

But curiously, credit card TV ads remained strong right up to September, with a 26 percent gain through the July-August period. That growth spurt hit a wall, however, once September began with daily news bulletins about the worsening global economy.