Methodology for 200 Leading National Advertisers, 2016 ed.

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Advertising Age on June 27, 2016, published the 61st annual Leading National Advertisers report online. A portion of the report appeared in Ad Age's June 27, 2016, print edition. Ad Age started the LNA report in 1956.

Ad Age Datacenter compiled the 200 Leading National Advertisers by starting with the 400 largest advertisers based on 2015 U.S. measured-media ad spending. Ad Age pared that to 200 after adding in estimated unmeasured spending.

Advertising Age's Datacenter produced Marketer Trees 2016 as an online database application with ad spending, brands, profiles, executives and agency rosters for the nation's 200 biggest advertisers. Ad Age Datacenter contacted the top 200 advertisers and their agencies in May and June 2016 to confirm and update information on executives and agency assignments.

Send your ideas to improve the Marketer Trees. Update us on agency assignments and executives. Report database errors. Email: [email protected]


Measured media
Measured-media advertising is estimated U.S. spending across 18 media. It consists of 17 media tracked by WPP's Kantar Media in its Stradegy product plus free-standing inserts (FSIs).

Measured media include
Broadcast network TV
Cable TV networks
Spanish-language broadcast network TV
Broadcast spot TV
National syndicated TV
Sunday magazines
Local magazines
Hispanic magazines
Business-to-business magazines
Local newspapers
National newspapers (New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal).
Hispanic newspapers
Network radio
Local radio
National spot radio

Unmeasured spending
Unmeasured spending figures are Ad Age Datacenter estimates that include direct marketing, promotion, experiential marketing, co-op, coupons, catalogs, product placement and forms of digital media not included in the above list of measured media (such as internet display, search marketing, online video and unmeasured forms of social media).

Essentially, unmeasured spending is the difference between a company's measured media (from Kantar Media) and its total advertising and promotion costs (either reported by the company or estimated by Ad Age Datacenter). Ad Age weights a company's reported worldwide ad costs to reflect a U.S.-only percentage.

Ad Age Datacenter accounts for cooperative advertising allowances that product marketers give to retailers, adding co-op money to retailers' estimated net--that is, out of pocket--ad costs so as to rank retailers based on estimated gross ad costs (including co-op).

Unmeasured spending for LNA 2016 includes internet display advertising. Previous LNA reports included internet display advertising among measured media.

Total U.S. advertising spending
Total U.S. ad spending is the sum of measured-media spending and unmeasured spending.

Figures for measured media, unmeasured spending and total U.S. ad spending for 2015 and 2014 are based on data collected and/or adjusted in 2016, so 2014 ad spending and rankings for a company and its brands may be different from the 2014 figures that appeared in the July 2015 report (LNA 2015).

Mergers and joint ventures
Brands and companies that a Leading National Advertiser had (as of June 2016) bought or divested are generally treated pro forma in this report as if completed deals had occurred at the beginning of the company's previous fiscal year (2014). Media spending for those brands or units generally is folded into or removed from the company for two consecutive years (2014 and 2015).

A Leading National Advertiser must own more than 50% of a product or unit for that product or unit's ad spending to be consolidated with the company in this report.

Ad Age treats joint ventures with 50/50 ownership as stand-alone ventures unless otherwise noted.

Ad Age Datacenter determined the 200 biggest U.S. brands--the nation's 200 most-advertised brands--by aggregating measured-media spending for all products or services that fell under that brand. For example, Ad Age combined Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Miller High Life under the Miller brand.

Category totals
Ad Age aggregated Kantar Media category classifications as follows (not comprehensively):

Airlines, hotels, car rental and travel: includes cruise ship travel.

Apparel: ready-to-wear, underclothing and hosiery, jewelry, accessories, footwear.

Automotive: manufacturers and dealerships.

Direct-response advertising: direct-response advertising in all classifications.

Financial services: includes banks and credit cards.

Food, beverages and candy: beverages, confectionery and snacks, dairy, produce, meat and bakery goods, prepared foods, ingredients, mixes and seasonings.

General services: apparel services, business services, beauty shops, doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, hospitals, clinics and medical centers, legal services, rental services, dating services, spectator sporting events, exterminators, electric and water companies.

Home furnishings, appliances and electronics: household furnishings and accessories, building materials, equipment and fixtures, appliances, electronics.

Home supplies and cleaners: household soaps, cleansers and polishes, laundry soaps, foils, wraps, paper products.

Medicines and remedies: pharmaceutical firms, medicines and proprietary remedies, fitness, eyeglasses, medical equipment.

Miscellaneous: aviation (excluding freight), employment recruitment, agriculture, lawn and garden, industrial, luggage, cameras, film.

Movies, recorded video and music: DVDs.

Personal care: cosmetics and beauty aids, personal hygiene, hair products, toiletries, hygienic goods and skin care.

Retail: discount department and variety stores, department stores, retail, shopping centers and catalog showrooms.

Telecom, internet services and ISP: telephone companies (wireless, local, long distance), internet services providers, web designers, communications networks, telephone equipment and offline internet support.

Key data sources
WPP's Kantar Media
Publicis Groupe 's Zenith
Securities and Exchange Commission

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