Ad spend flat-lined in U.S.

The wheezing U.S. economy has, not surprisingly, had a ripple effect on ad spend in that country.

Marketing Daily is reporting that overall ad spend was up 0.6 per cent last year, or pretty much flatlined year to year.

Measurement company Nielsen Company has released numbers showing the big boys, the top 10 ad buyers, actually dropped spending by four per cent. Out of that $17.9 billion chunk of measured media, only Procter & Gamble, Verizon Communications and AT&T spent more.

Nielsen said autos, traditionally the biggest spender, also had the greatest dollar and percent decline–amounting to $1.48 billion, or 11%. Financial/Investment Services had the fastest percentage growth, up 14%–although Wireless Telephone Services, with an increase of $422 million last year, had the greatest increase in dollars.

The firm says Procter & Gamble boosted its budget by $205 million last year to support brands like Pantene Pro-V Hair Care Products, Gillette Fusion Razor-Electric Power, Cover Girl Volume Exact Mascara, and Olay Definity Moisturizing Facial Deep Penetrating Foaming.

By contrast, General Motors showed the largest advertising decline, spending $267 million less last year than in 2006. The company cut back–predictably–on SUVs support, cutting dollars for products like Chevrolet Tahoe Trucks, GMC Yukon Trucks, and Hummer H3 Trucks. Ford’s ad spend was down 4%, while Toyota’s was down 7%.

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