Automakers Drive Ad Sales Again in '02

Big three are within the top-five advertiser ranks

With 10 months of data in (January-October), General Motors is on its way to repeat as the biggest advertiser spender of 2002.

The Buck Starts Here
Here's a list of 2002's top advertisers
B'cast Nets $ Millions
Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus, January-October 2002
General Motors697
Procter & Gamble614
Johnson & Johnson456
Pfizer Inc.364
Ford Motor Co.359
Pepsico Inc.353
AOL Time Warner272
Walt Disney Co.271
GlaxoSmithKline PLC262
Cable Nets $ Millions
Procter & Gamble430
General Motors368
AOL Time Warner336
Philip Morris Cos.220
Dell Computer179
Johnson & Johnson161
General Mills157
Pfizer Inc.157
Walt Disney148
National Amusements138

According to data supplied by Nielsen Media Research's ad tracking service Monitor-Plus, GM spent $1.8 billion in measured media through the first 10 months of 2002.

In 2001 GM spent almost $2.2 billion on measured media and the company is on the record stating that its ad spending for 2002 would be roughly flat with the previous year.

Big three spend big

It's not just local TV stations that are highly dependent on auto ads—all of the big three car companies, GM, Ford and DaimlierChrysler were among the top five overall advertisers (assuming that the rankings after 10 months of data hold up for all 12 months). Ford ranked fourth and spent almost $1.1 billion, while DaimlerChrysler AG was fifth and spent $950 million.

Rounding out the top five overall ad spenders were Procter & Gamble (second) and AOL Time Warner (third). P&G spent $1.6 billion and AOL Time Warner spent close to $1.2 billion.

In addition to being the biggest projected overall ad spender last year, GM also spent more than any other advertiser on broadcast network television with expenditures totaling close to $700 million through the first 10 months, according to the Monitor-Plus-supplied data.

Ford also showed up among the top five network advertisers at the fifth spot with about $360 million in expenditures. P&G was the No. 2-ranked spender at $614 million, while Johnson & Johnson was third with $456 million in ad buys. Pfizer was fourth having spent $364 million.

The broadcast spot TV category is the most auto-dependent of any medium. The Monitor-Plus data show that eight of the medium's top-10 advertisers were auto, including all of the top five advertisers. The only non-auto advertisers breaking into the top 10 were Verizon and Yum! Brands, which includes Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and other fast food restaurants.

GM was the top TV spot spender through the first ten months of last year at $481 million. Close on its heels was DaimlerChrysler at $468 million. By comparison, for all of 2001, DaimlerChrysler was the top spot spender at $708 million, while GM was second at $586 million.

P&G led cable

Ford dealers were the third biggest spenders through the first ten months of 2002 having spent $387 million, followed by Ford, which spent $318 million. Rounding the top five: GM dealers at $259 million.

In cable TV, Procter & Gamble spent the most through October of last year with $430 million in expenditures. And GM was second with $368 million in spending.

AOL Time Warner was the third biggest cable ad spender through October at $336 million.

Philip Morris is set to finish as the fourth biggest ad spender on cable for 2002, with a Jan. through Oct. total of $220 million, well ahead of the $179 million spent by fifth ranked Dell Computer for the same period.

In 2001, the top four cable spenders were the same, but AOL Time Warner was on top, followed by P&G, GM and Philip Morris. The good news for cable is that three of those advertisers (AOL Time Warner being the exception) spent more in the first ten months of 2002 than they did for full year 2001.

In syndication, P&G lead the ad buyer pack for 2002 with $163 million in spending. The packaged goods company was tops in 2001 with $194 million of syndication ads.

Drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline is the No. 2 syndication advertiser in 2002, although its spending is down considerably according to the Monitor-Plus data. Through October of last year, the company spent $85 million in syndication versus $135 million for full-year 2001.

Rounding out the top five syndication ad buyers for last year are Pfizer ($68 million), Unilever ($61 million) and Pepsi Co. ($58 million).

Hispanic dollars

P&G was the biggest advertiser on Hispanic TV for the first 10 months of last year, spending $101 million, which also was its total for full-year 2001 when it topped that category. Sears was No. 2 through October of 2002 with $76 million in ad buys.

The retailer also was second for full-year 2001, spending $89 million. The U.S. Government ranked third, spending $59 million through the first 10 months of last year, $3 million more than it spent in all of 2001 when it ranked as the eighth-largest buyer of Hispanic TV ads.

In network radio, Autozone emerged as the top advertiser, spending $33 million in the first 10 months, almost 65% more than the $20 million it spent for full-year 2001.

Walt Disney is second with $32 million in ad buys. The entertainment company was the top radio ad buyer in 2001 with $40 million in expenditures.

In spot radio, National Amusements, the theater chain, spent $66 million in ads for the first 10 months of last year to take the top spot.

The company was also the top spot radio spender in 2001 with $80 million worth of ads. Disney was No. 2 in both periods, spending $53 million through October of last year and $70 million for all of 2001.