Brutal, devastating, paralyzed

“The perfect storm, the convergence of negative factors,” as Essanay’s Wayne Kubacki puts it, has created the worst year of commercial business since the SAG strike and dot com bust of 2000.

The storm elements of the presidential campaign season when business is put on hold and a depressing economy has “paralyzed the commercials industry,” says Schumacher Camera’s James Pope.

Add to this witches’ brew: The impending (or not) SAG strike that put advertisers in a wait-and-see position, the turmoil and downsizing among ad agencies, the continuous cutback of commercials, and the clobbering Illinois is taking from Michigan’s 42% rebate.

And what certainly ignited the present disaster was Gov. Blagojevich’s fiddling while Rome burned, the five month delay in signing the tax incentives bill, as he waited for the perfect photo op for the signing ceremony. The cameras flashed in late May and a month later, on June 30, the SAG contract expired, spilling out its own bag of hairy problems.