AD AGE DATAPLACE;TOP 200 BRANDS;PICTURE PERFECT LEADING ROLE AMONG MEGABRANDS

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The nation's top brands are going to the movies.

Hollywood's contribution to Advertising Age's 200 megabrand quarterly report turned outright lavish for full-year 1995 as 15 studios cut loose an ad barrage of $2.2 billion, up 37.6% from '94 levels.

The studios provided nearly 10% of the 200's total media spending of $22.9 billion, up 10.2%, according to Competitive Media Reporting's 11-media totals. In '94, some 7% of 200's ad pot flowed from movies.

Hollywood aside, the list's top spender remained the AT&T brand with media outlays of $673.4 million, down 3.6%. It is the perennial leader among the 200, a brand confluence accounting for media pie of $59.9 just under 40% of the nation's total billion.

SPREAD TRAFFIC

Studio ad volume in the past has been largely a function of the number of releases. But in '95, releases grew nominally. Ad dollars moored to another indicator-non-holiday release dates, an industry move to spread out the traffic but requiring greater ad stimulation.

Variety's two leading distributors by '95 box-office receipts, Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Co. amalgam under Buena Vista (Disney, Hollywood and Touchstone), together issued 66 releases with 23 drawing media budgets above $12 million. In '94, only eight of their 78 combined total attracted such ad magnitude.

PAPERS BENEFIT

Newspapers can be thankful for the Hollywood largess. The movie megabrands, a segment of the 200's overall entertainment & movies category, increased newspaper spending nearly two-fold to $807 million, which even topped newspaper advertising by the 200's department stores.

The monolithic auto category still took 23% of the 200's ad total. The Big Three's ad numbers-$3.13 billion, up 8.1%, from 16 brands-were the most liberal.

Chrysler Corp. passed Ford Motor Co. (now 5th) to become the fourth-largest advertiser overall at $954.7 million, virtually all from five brands in the 200 led by Dodge cars & trucks at $414.5 million, up 77.2%.

Dodge ad and sales patterns reflect industry movement toward marketing light-trucks and vans. Dodge pickups and vans accounted for nearly 60% of Dodge ads and, according to Automotive News, sister publication of Ad Age, 64% of unit sales.

Revlon stimulated the personal care segment of the personal care & remedies category, spending $65.7 million, 30% in the fourth quarter.

Revlon's year-ending spurt help it attain the ever-elusive (for Revlon) quarterly profit. The timing was most propitious, as Revlon presented its results at the same time it announced its plans to go public and before a value could be set on its shares.

The Revlon ad outlay included $45 million for cosmetics, up 73%. Revlon solidified its No. 2 ranking in cosmetics (eyes, face, lips, nails) with a 19.8% share of the $2.4 billion market at retail, according to Information Resources Inc.

COLORING CATCHES ON

Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman must be influencing personal care's meteoric segment: hair-coloring, up 11.3% to $962.4 million in '95, according to IRI. Segment leader Clairol led the charge, priming the ad pump 15% to $56.1 million for its hair-coloring lines to boost its share to 47.2%. L'Oreal, with $52.5 million in advertising, up 54%, took 35.2% of market.

Southwest Airlines led all major carriers in full-year advertising at $77.6 million, up 26.3%-intense support for a smallish 4.3% share of industry RPMs (revenue passenger miles), but understandable considering the short-haul airline concentrates service in less than half the top 100 markets. That's pure marketing verite.

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