Retailers start holiday ads early, bet on frugal shoppers

Does it seem like the holidays arrived early this year? Maybe you noticed Costco (COST) stocking up on wrapping paper in September, or holiday television ads blaring during the weeks leading up to Halloween. Well, it's not your imagination, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Retailers this year started their national television holiday ad campaigns as much as four weeks before the traditional start of the holiday season, the media researcher says.

"Typically, retailer advertising is concentrated in the eight weeks before Christmas," said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS. "What we saw was a backing up of the calendar by a full four weeks."