Magazine article Marketing

Top 100 Advertisers

Magazine article Marketing

Top 100 Advertisers

Article excerpt

Confidence in advertising has risen in line with British industry's return to stability. Jennifer Hiscock takes a look at 2003's biggest spenders.

Two-thirds of the UK's top 100 advertisers increased their above-the-line spend in 2003, reflecting the optimism pervading British industry as it appears to be heading out of downturn and into a period of growth.

In the sixth year of Marketing's exclusive analysis of the top 100 advertisers' expenditure, with figures provided by Nielsen Media Research, total spend rose by 6.3% in 2003 to pounds 3.5bn.

The hike reflects a return to typical year-on-year growth, following an outstanding 2002, when spend increased by 11.8% as confidence returned with a bang following a fall of 3.7% in 2001.

Though 33 of the top 100 reduced their adspend in 2003, compared with 25 in 2002 and 59 in 2001, of the 67 that increased their spend, ten boosted it by 50% or more, with three - AXA Sun Life Direct, Hutchison 3G and 118 118 - hiking it by more than 100%.

Indeed, the latter two increased their budgets by more than 1000% each, with Hutchison 3G shooting up the table from 7788th to become the UK's 15th biggest advertiser in 2003, with a spend of pounds 49.8m. The company rose through the ranks on the back of the launch of its 3 mobile brand on March 3 last year.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) held the top spot in the table for a second year.

The FMCG colossus, whose brands include Ariel, Fairy, Bold and Pringles, increased its spend by 12.8% to pounds 187m, which represents its highest ever adspend and is a pounds 21.2m hike on its 2002 expenditure.

P&G associate director, UK media, Bernard Balderston says: 'Our total expenditure has been strong, which signals the competitiveness of the environment P&G finds itself in. We have some heavily competitive battles in the babycare sector with Pampers, and in the beauty sector with Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Olay, which have seen strong growth in spend. Advertising is an important part of our proposition - we offer premium products and ads are the best way to get that message across.'

P&G's main rival, Unilever, is split by Nielsen into its separate operations. The four divisions' combined total would make the company the UK's biggest spender, at pounds 194m. But unlike previous years, when the gap in spend between the FMCG giants has been as much as pounds 15m, this year Unilever leads by pounds 7.1m. However, the gap is wider than it was in 2002, when P&G spent just pounds 2.8m less than the Unilever companies.

Unilever last week pledged to raise expenditure on advertising and promotions to a record 15% of turnover by 2005 in a bid to increase growth from its scaled-down brand portfolio. P&G invested just 10% of its dollars 43bn (pounds 22.6bn) turnover in advertising last year.

The government's advertising unit, COI Communications, spends another year at second place in the top 100.

Having come under fire for topping the table in 2001 with a record spend of pounds 143.8m, it slashed its budget by 15% in 2002. But this year it has upped its spend again, by 14.8% to pounds 138.2m.

The unit, which runs more than 60 campaigns on behalf of government departments each year, was responsible for promoting issues as diverse as flexible working hours on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry to crime reduction for the Home Office. Its latest high-profile work is the 'Use Your Head' recruitment campaign for the Teacher Training Agency.

BT remains third in the table, with its adspend fairly static. It also retains its position as the highest single brand in the table; the majority of the top ten are multiple-brand companies.

L'Oreal's 27.6% increase was the biggest in the top ten, taking its spend to pounds 90.4m. Last year it ran an interactive TV campaign through WWAV Rapp Collins to promote its Laboratoires Garnier range. …

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