Marketers Increased Hispanic Media Spending Just 2.5% in '08

Struggling Automakers Led Deep Reductions in the Fourth Quarter

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Marketers increased their spending on Hispanic media a modest 2.5% in 2008 but cut spending 5.7% in the fourth quarter as the recession deepened, according to a ranking of the top 100 Hispanic marketers compiled with data from TNS Media Intelligence.

Of those 100 advertisers, 43 spent less last year than in 2007, and 51 cut their fourth-quarter ad spending, often by double digits, compared with the same period last year.

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Unsurprisingly, automakers were the biggest budget cutters. Seven of the nine car companies among the top 100 Hispanic advertisers slashed their ad spending last year, and all seven made even deeper cuts in the fourth quarter. Although General Motors Corp. still spent $90 million on Hispanic media, a decline of just 2.1% for 2008, the car company spent 46.7% less in the fourth quarter, a drop that was fairly typical in the category. GM, usually the biggest Hispanic advertiser after Procter & Gamble Co. and AT&T, fell behind budget-boosting McDonald's Corp. and Verizon Communications. Separately, General Motors -- and Ford Motor Co. -- dealers cut their own spending even more deeply in the fourth quarter.

A Univision Communications exec said in a call with analysts last week that the Spanish-language TV network's car advertising fell 41% in the fourth quarter. "In some of our markets, as many as 40% of local dealers have closed down," he said.

Two car marketers spent more in 2008. Toyota Motor Corp. was up 13% to $87.3 million as it aggressively promoted a range of models from the Tundra truck to the Corolla, although its spending rose just 2.4% in the fourth quarter. And Honda Motor Co. spent $37.6 million, up 22.8% in 2008, and was up 26.9% in the fourth quarter.

Ford sticks with 'Sabado'
Despite budget cuts, marketers are still trying to get a big bang for their buck. Ford's spending on Hispanic media fell 31.2% last year to $46.7 million, according to TNS, but the company is continuing a long tradition as the exclusive car sponsor for Univision's blockbuster "Sabado Gigante" show. Host Don Francisco kicked off his April 4 show by driving the new 2010 Ford Fusion into the studio and hosted a Ford Fusion game to give away a new car to a winner in the studio audience.

Procter & Gamble boosted 2008 ad spending 11.4% last year to $174.4 million, widening its lead over other marketers, and spent a little more in the fourth quarter, up 13.6%. Other package-goods giants Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive also increased their 2008 Hispanic ad spending by double digits, with growth of 16.9% and 32.9%, respectively. Kimberley-Clark, however, was down 20.5%.

Telecommunications was another category where marketers were more likely to increase Hispanic budgets than cut them. Verizon Communications spent $97.9 million in 2008, a 31.2% increase, and upped spending 60.2% in the fourth quarter. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile were up 16.4% and 4.5%, respectively. And although AT&T was down 7.4% for the year, the company ramped up fourth-quarter spending 31.1%.

Media, from TNS Media Intelligence, is the sum of broadcast TV networks, Galavision (cable), and Spanish-language magazines, newspapers and spot TV. Does not include websites.
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