Big hitters

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BMW Group

Global net income: $1.69 billion, nine months ended Sept. 30, 2002, up 8.7% from the same period a year earlier.

U.S. ad budget: $72 million for January through August 2002, up 28.6% from the same period a year earlier.*

Two words defined the marketing eminence of BMW Group's North America unit in 2002: BMW Films. The Internet film series was one of the best marketing ideas of the year. Backed by Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, the films swept the awards show circuit, including Grand Prix Cyber Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival and Best of Show at the One Show . Creative aside, BMW sales rose 6.8% January through October vs. a year ago, to 188,161 units, according to Advertising Age sibling Automotive News. BMW now is nipping at the heels of luxury leader Lexus. A campaign launching the BMW Mini USA unit's Mini Cooper also turned heads with its nontraditional ads by MDC Communi-cations' Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami.

Dell Computer Corp.

Net income: $1.52 billion, nine months ended Nov. 1, 2002, up 14.7% from the same period in 2001.

Ad budget: $205 million for January through August 2002, up 68% from the same period a year earlier. *

Steven might be out, but Dell Computer Corp. is still on track as a top marketer in 2002. While Dell recently pulled its campaign starring "Steven," a spokes-dude made popular with the recent effort from Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, the advertising accomplished what it set out to: grab market share. Riding on the laid-back hipster tag, "Dude, you're gettin' a Dell," the PC giant reported record sales and profits in 2002, a feat notable in a tough economy.

The computer company surprised analysts when it reported third-quarter profits up 31% from the same period in 2001, as well as record revenue and units sold. In addition, Dell's ad spending in first-half 2002 rocketed 42%, mostly on consumer advertising.

GM of North America

Net income: $2.27 billion, nine months ended Sept. 30, 2002, up 158% from year-earlier period. **

Ad budget: $1.3 billion for January through August 2002, down 3.3% from '01 period.*

It took aggressive measures, but in 2002, General Motors Corp.'s GM of North America stopped a decade-long slide of its market share and won patriotic points. GM turned up its 0% financing plans, which it launched after Sept. 11 to boost the economy and U.S. spirits. The latest triple zero offer, which runs until Jan. 2, guarantees zero down, zero payments for 90 days and 0% financing. GM's market share January through October was 28.5%, holding steady with the same period a year ago, according to Automotive News. Before that, GM's market share had steadily slid. In addition to the corporate retail offers, it also launched splashy corporate TV spots from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich. The GM mood remains upbeat with auto veteran Chairman Bob Lutz overseeing hip products aimed at younger buyers.

William Wrigley Jr. Co.

Net income: $293.8 million for the first nine months of 2002, up 7.6% the same period in 2001.

Ad budget: $105 million for January through August 2002, up 9.4% from '01 period.*

New CEO Bill Wrigley Jr. has spurred Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. to turn on the marketing this year, reawakening consumers to its stable of gum brands. Also, the company for the first time has moved into non-gum products. With a new VP-marketing, Kathryn E. Olson; a new mandate of creativity for its agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, Chicago; and a new chief innovation officer, Surinder Kumar, Wrigley has worked its reacquired magic in its category this year. It has staged marketing makeovers on virtually all its brands, from Big Red to Spearmint. Its unsuccessful bid to purchase Hershey Foods Corp. is an example of the package-goods marketer's more aggressive approach to licensing and partnerships-to wit, Wrigley's innovative relationship with Procter & Gamble Co.'s Crest brand for whitening chewing gum.

All ad spending figures are from Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. **GM credits the jump in sales to increased production and decreased costs, among other factors.

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