The top 50 b-to-b advertisers spent almost $4.3 billion on b-to-b ads last year, up 4.8% over 2011, according to an analysis of ad spending data from Kantar Media. The figures include estimated b-to-b ad spending in business magazines, consumer magazines, newspapers, Internet (display ads only), outdoor, radio and television.
Spending on television was up 13.3% over 2011. Other categories that saw increases were outdoor (up 2.4%) and consumer magazines (up 1.6%).
Ad spending fell in the rest of the categories. Hardest hit were newspapers (down 19.3%), while spending also declined in b-to-b magazines (down 7.7%), radio (down 6.1%) and Internet display ads (down 1.3%).
The bulk of b-to-b ad spending went to TV (59.6%). The rest went to Internet (10.5%), consumer magazines (9.4%), newspapers (7.1%), radio (6.0%), business magazines (4.4%) and outdoor (3.0%).
The No. 1 b-to-b advertiser last year was AT&T Inc. The telecommunications giant spent an estimated $251.3 million on b-to-b ads, down 16.2% from 2011.
AT&T continued its integrated “Rethink Possible” campaign, created by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta. The campaign included TV, online, outdoor and mobile, and showed how AT&T offers an array of telecommunications services to help businesses operate, including IP infrastructures, mobile apps and cloud services.
“We ran TV nationally and in 10 spot markets to showcase our small-business customers and all the things they want to do in their business,” said Alicia Dietsch, VP-marketing, AT&T Business Solutions. For example, a TV spot called “Corporate Caterers” featured a catering company in Miami that uses AT&T mobile solutions, such as real-time photo sharing, to increase efficiency.
“We do use some print, supporting our small-business demand-gen efforts, and we've experimented with outdoor on and off,” Dietsch said, referring to more targeted campaign efforts.
The No. 2 b-to-b advertiser was Microsoft Corp., which spent an estimated $242.2 million, up 36.9% over 2011.
Microsoft broke a TV campaign in March 2012 for Internet Explorer 9 called “A More Beautiful Web.” The 60-second spot featured the hit song “Too Close” by artist Alex Clare and was produced by film director Keith Rivers, working with Microsoft's IE team.
In October, Microsoft launched an integrated campaign for Windows 8, created by Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Boulder, Colo. The campaign included TV, print, online and outdoor ads.
The No. 3 advertiser was Apple Computer, which spent an estimated $230.4 million on b-to-b ads last year, up 15.4% over 2011.
Apple broke a TV campaign called “Genius” during NBC's broadcast of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Los Angeles. It also ran an integrated campaign for the iPad mini, also from TBWA/Media Arts Lab, using TV, print and online.
The print campaign, which ran on the back cover of such publications as The New Yorker, Time and Wired, showed the tablet in actual size, with the display of the tablet featuring the front cover of each magazine.
Coming in at No. 4 was Verizon Communications, which spent an estimated $212.9 mil-lion on b-to-b ads last year, down 10.2% from 2011.
Verizon debuted a TV campaign called “Powerful Answers,” created by mcgarrybowen, New York, to show the human side of innovation. In addition, Verizon Enterprise Solutions launched targeted campaigns focusing on security, cloud and other telecommunications services.
“A key challenge and marketing goal was raising brand recognition for Verizon within the enterprise segment, which has a completely different set of decision-makers,” said Benigno Gonzales, VP-global marketing and communications at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
The unit introduced a campaign around cloud computing called “Bridging the Divide,” in partnership with research company Frost & Sullivan. Created by MRM, Salt Lake City, the campaign focuses on how cloud computing can help bridge the gap between IT and marketing.
Rounding out the top 10 advertisers last year were Deutsche Telekom ($204.5 million); Samsung Group ($143.3 million); Google Inc. ($135.1 million); Softbank Corp. ($133.7 million); Hewlett-Packard Co. ($130.1 million); and JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($128.0 million).
IBM Corp. dropped to No. 12 from No. 8 in the previous year's rankings. The company decreased its b-to-b spending by 14.5%, to $122.3 million.
General Electric Co. climbed to No. 13 from No. 18, increasing its advertising spending by 56.0% to $118.7 million.