Five Talking Points From the 100 Leading National Advertisers

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Here are five quick findings from one of Ad Age's most in-depth reports of the year.

1) Doubling-down can lift you up: In the teeth of the recession, 26 of the nation's 100 largest advertisers bucked the trend and upped their ad spending in 2009. They were twice as likely to see sales increase as those who didn't. The sales increases for those companies were slightly higher as well. To be sure, the spending-and-sales gainers were largely in sectors (prescription drugs, household products, fast food) that were less affected by the recession than, say, the automotive sector, where consumer demand (and ad spending) tanked. CMOs and agency folks may feel free to cite this in PowerPoint slides.

2) It was a bad year for the media: The Top 100's ad spending (measured media plus unmeasured disciplines, such as direct marketing and paid search) crashed an Ad Age record 10.2% with companies noting that what they did spend was often bought on the cheap. "Media deflation" and media discounting were cited as a cost-savings in annual reports from big spenders as Anheuser-Busch InBev to Procter & Gamble. The upside for media: The Top 100's measured-media spending fell only 6.2%, far below the 12.3% plunge in total U.S. measured-media spending recorded by WPP's Kantar Media. Even in tough times, big marketers continued to spend on media.

3) Last year was way worse than other bad years: Spending has dropped in only four years since Ad Age started tracking the LNA back before Don Draper joined Sterling Cooper. The 10.2% loss of ad dollars in 2009 is greater than the combined declines in those years.

4) Flat is the new up: Media staffing is a good indicator of market health. After steep job cuts in 2008 and the first half of 2009, jobs have stabilized since September.

5) The internets are catching on: Online display spending surged a whopping 34.2%. Cable and free-standing inserts rose slightly. All other media recorded declines in overall spending. Let's drill into this a little deeper and look at how the mix is changing:

Average one-year increase on Internet spending: 98.8% Average percent of total dollars that was spent on the Internet: 3.9% up 1.0%

Average one-year decrease on TV spending: 1.4% Average percent of total dollars that was spent on TV: 35.7% up 1.2%

Average one-year decrease on magazine spending: 0.4% Average percent of total dollars that was spent on magazines: 8.7% down 0.5%

Average one-year decrease on newspaper spending: 8.5% Average % of total dollars that was spent on newspapers: 5.2% down 1.0%

Average percent of total dollars that was spent on Network TV: 16% Average one-year increase on Network TV spending: 0.0% (or nil, as we like to say during World Cup time.)

These are just some quick findings in one of Ad Age's most in-depth reports of the year. Spend some time in the data yourself and you'll find industry trends, marketer trends and a pretty complete picture of the state of flux that is media spending in 2009. See to get access.

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