GM Falls Out of Top 3 Global Spenders

L'Oréal Passes Carmaker, Moves in Behind Solid No. 1 P&G, Unilever

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NEW YORK ( -- After many years as one of the top three global marketers, General Motors Corp. dropped to No. 4 based on 2007 ad spending, behind perennial leaders Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever, as well as newly elevated L'Oréal, according to Ad Age's 22nd-annual Global Marketers report, which covers 86 countries.

Top 25 global spenders
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Top 25 global spenders and Top 100 Global Marketers' media spending by category.

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In 2007, General Motors was the only one of the top 10 Global Marketers to cut ad spending, by 0.9% to $3.3 billion. Just 21 of Ad Age's Top 100 Global Marketers spent less in 2007 than in the previous year. The Top 100 as a whole spent $107.64 billion on measured media, an increase of 8% from 2006, although the U.S. was flat. U.S. spending was down 0.1% to $46.61 billion. (The high growth rate for spending outside the U.S. was partly due to appreciation of foreign currencies against the downtrodden dollar; the euro, for instance, was up 9.3% in 2007.)

Of course, that's likely to change dramatically in the next couple of years as ad-spending growth skids in a worldwide recession.

In a forecast out Dec. 8, Group M is predicting that 2008 ad spending will rise 0.3% in the U.S. and worldwide growth will slow to 2.6%. And the outlook for 2009 is bleak. Group M is forecasting a 3.2% decline in U.S. ad spending -- a loss of $5.2 billion ad dollars -- and a 0.2% fall for worldwide ad spending next year.

Prospects for other major markets also look grim. In early 2008, Group M hoped for 3% growth in U.K. ad spending next year, but the company's new global forecast slashes U.K. ad spending in 2009 by an estimated 5.6%, or $1.2 billion. For 2008, the group expects a 3% drop in the U.K.

Still on top
If anything is certain in a turbulent economy, it's that Procter & Gamble will continue to be the world's biggest global advertiser. The company's global spending is almost twice as much as No. 2 Unilever's -- $9.36 billion compared with $5.3 billion in 2007.

For the full report, see Global Marketers in the DataCenter section of The report also includes Ad Age's annual Global Accounts grid, sometimes called "The Dots Report," which illustrates where agency networks handle multinational clients, by country and region.
More than half of P&G's advertising budget is invested outside the U.S., with Europe getting the most ad dollars: $3.11 billion, not far behind P&G's U.S. spending of $3.7 billion in 2007. P&G also spent $1.94 billion in Asia and $251 million in Latin America.

The Top 100 spent 43.3% of their measured-media budgets in the U.S. in 2007. In part, that reflects that the U.S. is the home market for 48 of the Top 100 Global Marketers, up from 46 last year.

Another 14 companies in the ranking are based in Japan, followed by Germany (10), France (9), the U.K. (6) and Korea (4). One marketer has changed nationalities: Following the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch Cos. by Belgian brewer InBev, Anheuser-Busch InBev is based in Leuven, Belgium.

An ad budget of $300 million was the cutoff for inclusion in the Top 100 Global Marketers ranking, though several American companies, such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, spent more than $1 billion but didn't make the list because their spending was almost entirely in the U.S. (A marketer had to report media spending on at least three continents to qualify as "global," regardless of its headquarters.)

Welcome, eBay
Other American companies are expanding their global footprints. EBay made a first-time appearance in the ranking, at No. 100, after ramping up its ad budget, including an 82% jump in U.K. spending.

Five other marketers were added to the Top 100 list this year: U.S. companies Avon Products, Sara Lee Corp. and Eli Lilly & Co.; Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp.; and German pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingelheim, which boosted its U.S. ad spending $42 million after acquiring the Zantac brand.

The global marketers that became the Top 100 were collated from media lists from 86 countries provided by monitoring services, primarily Nielsen, TNS, Ibope, PARC, Steadman, Sigma and Ifat. In some cases, monitoring services were licensees or partners of Nielsen or TNS. Other independent companies also supplied data. McCann Worldgroup, JWT, Mindshare and Saatchi & Saatchi also contributed significantly to the report.

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