Procter & Gamble takes over from UK government as top 2010 ad spender

Procter & Gamble was the UK’s biggest ad spender in 2010 with £195m, a whopping increase on the £158m it spent in 2009 according to Nielsen figures for the Daily Telegraph.

Next comes BSkyB on £168m, up from £151m and doubtless adding more fuel to the fire over News Corporation’s bid to buy all of the pay-TV operator. Ofcom is expected to announce that it’s referring the bid to the Competition Commission (and a six-month delay) later today.

Then it’s Unilever on £134m, Tesco on £125m and the UK government’s Central of Office of Information on £113m, down from £227m and first place in 2009.

The COI was first in line for the new coalition government’s cuts of course with cabinet office minister Francis Maude gleefully wielding his axe and even trying to persuade the BBC to run government ads for free (it declined).

But the Government is currently under fire for scrapping its usual campaign to persuade Brits to have anti-flu injections, blamed by many for the virulence of the current outbreak of swine flu.

The Government says the decision was taken on ‘medical advice’ rather than cost grounds, although there don’t seem to be many medics supporting the decision.

£113m is still a chunky spend of course although much of this would have come in the run-up to the May general election when the then Labour government seemed intent on spending what little remained in the UK’s depleted coffers.

P&G historically has been there or thereabouts as the UK’s biggest advertiser but the big increase in 2010 is part of a global drive for market share fuelled by big increases in its marketing budget.

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