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Ad spending in 2003 rose 5.1 percent

Despite a difficult year defined by the war in Iraq, advertising spending in 2003 rose 5.1 percent over last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Based on preliminary figures released Thursday, the ad economy rose steadily each quarter, up 1.5 percent in the first quarter, 3.6 percent in the second, 5.7 in the third, leading up to a 7.4 percent increase in fourth quarter.

Nielsen Monitor-Plus, a division of Nielsen Media Research, tracks advertising expenditures across 12 media categories. Of the 12 media, local magazines posted the heftiest gain last year, up 20.5 percent, followed by local newspapers (10 percent), national magazines (9.4 percent), syndicated TV (6.9 percent), outdoor (6.4 percent), spot TV (5.9 percent), Spanish-language TV (4.9 percent), cable TV (3.4 percent), national newspapers (2.5 percent), network radio (1.6 percent), spot radio (1.5 percent) and network TV (0.2 percent).

The top 10 advertisers spent nearly $15 billion in 2003, an increase of 8.2 percent over 2002. Of the 10, 7 advertisers increased ad budgets, including top spender Procter & Gamble, which upped its spending by 25.9 percent to promote many of its oral hygiene products, including Crest White Strips, Crest Spin Brush Electric Toothbrush and Crest Whitening Expressions Toothpaste. The packaged-goods leader also used advertising to support several new product introductions, including Cover Girl Wetslicks Lipstick and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

The three advertisers that decreased spending were all automotive companies: General Motors (down 8.4 percent), DaimlerChrysler AG (down 4.8 percent) and Ford Motor Co. (down 5 percent).

Not all automakers cut budgets. Nissan's budget increase of 33.9 percent last year was the largest among the top 10, the first time the automaker made the top 10 ranks. And while automakers may have reduced budgets, local auto dealers and auto dealer associations increased spending by 8.3 and 52.4 percent, respectively.

Posted on aef.com: February 23, 2004


Katy Bachman, Mediaweek. February 19, 2004

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