Ad Age DataCenter - 46th Annual Report: 100 Leading National Advertisers

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To revisit the advertising and marketing climate of 2000 is to enter a time warp.

The nation's 100 top marketers pushed ad expenditures 7.6% to $83.39 billion for the year, highest mark in the 46 years of Advertising Age's report on the 100 Leading National Advertisers. The top five media by volume were flush with double-digit growth. The one wrinkle was the dislocation in the dot-com industry.

Now, three quarters later, media are scraping for advertising with cable TV networks the only medium among the volume leaders with a year-to-year gain. The nation's marketers through midyear have cut media outlays by 6%. Consumer spending has become the last line of defense to keep the nation out of recession. The nation's psyche is being tested by the terrorist attacks on the centers of financial and military strength in the country.

But even in 2000, despite the Top 100's ad largesse, a slowdown in spending in the final quarter kept this elite group from reaching the 12% growth achieved in 1999. Among the group, auto advertising (up 6.3%), retail (up 5.5%), food (up 1%), personal care (up 0.8%) and restaurants (unchanged) weighted the average. Computers, drugs, entertainment & media, financial and telecommunications segments each returned growth above 11%.

No. 1 General Motors Corp. amassed $3.93 billion in advertising, down 4.5% from 1999 when it cracked the $4 billion level.

Through first-half 2001, GM's unit sales have dropped 7% versus first-half 2000. Its media has slumped 24% to $1.08 billion from first-half 2000, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, whose 11 media totals show first-half auto advertising down 6%. CMR media totals are added to non-media spending estimates covering the wealth of promotional advertising to determine the nation's Top 100.

Procter & Gamble Co. pulled a third-place ranking in 2000 at $2.36 billion, hardly respectable for this marketer that never finished below the top two in the history of this report. P&G's tally was off 12.3%, as it cut outlays on 27 of the 46 brands which P&G backs with more than $10 million in advertising each. Counter to most, P&G's first-half 2001 media expenditures are up 1.1% to $658.6 million.

The Top 100 in 2000 accounted for 48.3% of the nation's total media spending, down from 50.2% in 1999 for the same set of companies. For the top five media by volume, the Top 100 accounted for 78.3% of all spending in network TV, 55% of cable, 42% of magazines, 40.8% of spot TV, and 31.2% of newspaper.

Media's double-digit growth in 2000 gave way to declines by the end of June '01. Spot TV was down 14.7%, newspapers 8.7%, magazines 4.5%, and network TV 2.3%. Cable TV returned 4.6% growth.

Most media prognosticators predict a drop of 4% to 6% in media spending for the full year.

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