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(July 18, 2001) -- General Motors Corp. said its ad spending this year will dip slightly from 2000, when the auto giant spent $2.84 billion in measured media, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Speaking during the automaker's second-quarter announcement July 17, Paul Ballow, GM's general director of market and industry analysis, declined to discuss the percentage of the ad budget that was shifting to the regions, saying only that "it's not a big shift."

While GM's first-quarter ad spending dipped by 22%, Merrill Lynch & Co. said GM's ad spending is likely to pick up in the second half of the year, when ad spending is typically higher.

The full-service investment banking firm also said GM's discussion of 2001 ad spending may may mean good news for Interpublic Group of Cos., which handles the bulk of the automaker's account in the U.S. and globally, as well as for WPP Group and Omnicom Group, because their respective clients, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler, will probably have to respond competitively to GM's moves.

GM tallied $610 million in earnings on revenues of $46 billion in the latest period. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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