Ad spends in Thailand 30% down, research suggests

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BANGKOK -- Spending on advertising in Thailand last year may have been as much as 30% below that for 1996 because of widespread rebates, according to Khoo Khaeng Data Bank.

Revenue from TV, print, cinema and billboard advertising worked out at $840 million, based on regular rates, according to the research company's survey of advertising agencies.

Although this was little changed from the 1996 level, some figures quoted might have been pre-discount, and some ads might have been free, the data bank says in a new report.

With the exception of the Boon Rawd Brewery Co, maker of the popular Singha Beer, the major spenders were international firms.

Unilever (Thailand) Co, the country's largest consumer product marketer, spent $42 million - 20% more than in 1996. Food conglomerate Nestle (Thailand) increased its spending by 34% to $16.5 million. Proctor and Gamble (Thailand) spent $16.1 million, a 6% increase. And Toyota Motor (Thailand) raised spending by 34% to $12.9 million.

Boon Rawd Brewery, Kao Commercial (Thailand), TC Pharmaceutical Co, Advance Info Service and Ajinomoto (Thailand) round out the list of Thailand's nine biggest advertisers.

The most advertised brand names wer more local, however: TV Media Thailand, Toyota, Singha, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and Thai International Airways.

Soonthorn Kengvibul, managing director of Osotspa Marketing Co, predicts that international consumer product marketers will maintain their ad spending this year as they have the necessary financial backing.

But local manufacturers are likely to cut spending as they try to cope with the increased cost of imported raw materials - a result of the local currency losing more than half its value in seven months.

Osotspa, a diversified distributor of various products, plans to cut its ad spending this year by between 20 and 30%. "The company will reduce advertising and spend more on other marketing," Mr. Soonthorn says.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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