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NEW YORK ( -- Procter & Gamble Co. heads the list of top global marketers by worldwide media spending at $3.82 billion, followed

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by General Motors Corp. and Unilever. The three are the only marketers to spend more than $3 billion each on advertising worldwide in 2001, according to Advertising Age's 16th annual Top Global Marketers ranking.

Spending by the top 100 marketers fell by 6.1% in the U.S. last year and grew by a tiny 0.9% in the rest of the world, for a global drop of 2.6%.

In a major change, Ad Age ranked marketers for the first time this year by total worldwide media spending in 77 countries. In previous years, the ranking was done by non-U.S. media spending to avoid including American companies that advertise heavily but only in the U.S. Under this year's new criteria, a company must advertise in at least three of these four regions to qualify as a global marketer: the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.

$70.95 billion spent
The top 100 marketers spent $70.95 billion on media advertising in 2001 -- almost half of it, or $34.17 billion, in the U.S. Europe was the next biggest region, with $24.09 billion, followed by Asia ($9.19 billion) and Latin America ($1.79 billion).

Half of the top 100 global marketers -- and six of the top 10 -- are U.S. companies. (None are from Latin America, 19 are Asian and 32 are based in Europe). But their spending patterns are very different. Thirteen of the U.S. marketers still spend more than 80% of their media dollars in the U.S., including Wal-Mart Stores, Anheuser-Busch Cos., Hershey Foods Corp. and most pharmaceutical and media companies. But that may change. Wal-Mart, for instance, is the biggest retailer in Mexico and is building huge new stores in China.

Even non-U.S. pharmaceutical marketers devote most of their budgets to the U.S. market, where consumers buy more and costlier drugs, and ads for prescription drugs are allowed.

Spending in Europe
At the other extreme, some of the U.S. brands most often seen around the world are running more commercials and print ads in Europe than in the U.S. Coca-Cola Co. and Mars each devote 29% of their media budgets to the U.S. but spend much more in Europe. And Colgate-Palmolive Co. spends just 19.4% of its global total in the U.S., 49% in Europe, 17.9% in Asia and 11% in Latin America.

Telecommunications are no longer fueling growth, but categories such as financial services, pharmaceuticals and personal products are spending more, said Ian Garland, managing director of product marketing and development for Nielsen Media Research International.

In developing countries such as China, marketers had to focus first on distribution.

"Now that's largely achieved, we're seeing greater emphasis on pricing, promotions and advertising," Mr. Garland said.

Although total global spending by the top 100 marketers fell 2.6% overall, budget cuts weren't uniform. In 2001, 50 of the top 100 spent more, and 50 spent less.

U.S. companies suffered the greatest cuts. Nine of the 13 marketers that slashed global budgets by 20% or more in 2001 were U.S. companies, including No. 2 marketer GM.

Twenty marketers were more optimistic, increasing their media spending by double digits, including Reckitt Benckiser (15.4%), Danone Group (14.2%), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (14.5%), BMS (25.9%), Kia (31.4%) and Heineken (13.6%).

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