The volume of holiday advertisements so far is down 8.2% compared with last year, according to AceMetrix. A late Thanksgiving is one likely reason for the lower volume, as retailers are expected to pick up the slack as Black Friday approaches. Ads are also "a little lighter on the music, a little heavier on the background decorations," AceMetrix's Jonathan Symonds said. "It's a more subtle way of saying the holidays are here than to hit them with big Christmas trees."

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