LowerMyBills lowers its bills (on advertising)

Guest blog from BusinessWeek’s Mara Der Hovanesian:

The latest sign that the exuberance has ended: the Web’s dancing cowboys have all but disappeared. In the housing boom’s go-go days, LowerMyBills.com, one of the Internet’s biggest advertisers, plastered the Internet with banner ads that featured animated roof-top dancers and knee-slapping cowboys to grab the attention of consumers comparison-shopping for mortgages.

But who feels like dancing a jig these days? In early October the company, a unit of credit agency Experian, quietly pulled those slightly surreal images for another: a grainy video clip featuring a screaming woman holding a baby. The inspiration for the new ad was “to tap into the Halloween spirit,” according to a company spokeswoman.

Ad spending by LowerMyBills.com ballooned from $79 million in 2006 to $128 million in 2007 before subsiding to $30 million in the first half of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The company is a unit of the credit agency Experian