Brave US ad spenders beat recession

We’re always being told by agencies that the way to beat recession is to maintain or even increase ad spending and a new survey from Ad Age appears to indicate that some US advertisers have done just that.

Spending by the 100 top US advertisers fell by 10.2 per cent in 2009 but 26 spent more with 70 per cent of these reporting sales increases.

Leading the way was retail giant Wal-Mart which increased spending by 14.2 per cent in the US, displacing Macy’s as the top retail spender. Globally Wal-Mart spent $2.4bn, $300m more than in 2008.

The extra investment helped Wal-Mart increase its sales by 1.1 per cent whereas national retail sales fell by 2.1 per cent.

Others to increase spending included Hershey, McDonald’s, General Mills, Nestle and Unilever.

Other marketers, including traditional big spender Procter & Gamble, Anheuser Busch InBev and drinks giant Diageo claim that ‘media deflation’ helped them achieve more bang for their buck, actually buying more media than the year before for less money.

These happy days (for some advertisers) may be coming to an end though. US media spending for all advertisers rose 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 with the top 100 spending 11 per cent more according to WPP research operation Kantar Media.

Kantar’s figures show that, by sector, automotive took the biggest hit in 2009, down 22.8 per cent. 2009 was the year that top car spender General Motors crashed into bankruptcy of course.

The only sectors to show increases were telecoms and internet services, food, beverages and confectionery, pet food and pet care and tobacco.

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