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Sky soars to second place among top UK advertisers

New figures from Nielsen published in Marketing show that BSkyB, currently the subject of a bid for complete control by News Corporation is now the second biggest advertiser in the UK behind Procter & Gamble, overtaking Unilever and the former top dog, the Government’s now much-reduced Central Office of information.

BSkyB spent more than £145m on ads (out a total marketing budget estimated by some as north of £1bn). One of the big beneficiaries is newbie agency Brothers and Sisters whose chunk of the BSkyB creative account (including Sky Sports pictured) is worth £90m.

We don’t have the full Nielsen report so here’s Nicola Clark’s in Marketing.

More than three-quarters of the UK’s top 100 advertisers increased their adspend in 2010, defying predictions that the year would mark a steep decline in marketing budgets.

By channel, the biggest year-on-year increase was in TV advertising, with a 17% rise, according to Nielsen; print, outdoor and cinema spend also rose. The only medium in which spending fell was radio, falling 6% on 2009 levels.

Of the top 100 advertisers, 77 boosted their spend, led by Procter & Gamble. The FMCG multinational leapfrogged the COI to become Britain’s biggest advertiser, spending £203.9m in 2010, £78.4m more than rival Unilever.

The government’s commitment to slashing public-sector spending was reflected in the 50% year-on-year decline in the COI’s adspend to £105.4m. Despite this, it remains the UK’s sixth-biggest advertiser.

BSkyB overtook Unilever to become the UK’s second-biggest advertiser, bolstering its adspend by 31% on 2009 to £145.1m, while BT entered the top 10 after almost doubling its spend to £79.4m.

The supermarkets stepped up their efforts, too. Tesco boosted its spend by 15% year on year to £114.6m, while there were 12% and 15% hikes from Asda and Sainsbury’s, which spent £113.3m and £68.2m respectively. Marks & Spencer raised its spend by 66% year on year to £68.7m.

The banking sector also showed signs of a marketing revival, with Lloyds TSB and Halifax increasing their spend by 76% and 65% year on year respectively, equating to a combined £82m.

One other thought occurs. Were all these companies who increased their budgets so bravely hiding or on holiday when the agency trade body the IPA produced its quarterly Bellwether Reports on client spending intentions?

They certainly didn’t tell the poor old IPA this was what they planned.

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