Major brands boost UK spending

16 March 2011

LONDON: Over three-quarters of the UK's largest advertisers raised their expenditure through traditional media last year, a study has found.

According to research firm Nielsen, 77 of the country's top 100 companies in terms of adspend increased their investment in 2010.

Collectively, this group were responsible for £3.95bn in ad sales, a 13% improvement on an annual basis.

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, enhanced its outlay by 31%, hitting £203.9m ($327m; €234m), two-thirds of which was allocated to television, and another 29% awarded to press titles.

"We are seeing people spend more time online, on social networks and gaming, and we're exploring more marketing opportunities here," Roisin Donnelly, head of marketing, P&G UK and Ireland, told Marketing Magazine.

"But traditional media are still crucial. Successful campaigns today are centred on big ideas driven by a killer consumer insight, and need to play right across the mix."

She added: "The more innovative you can be in your execution, the more consumers you'll reach."

BSkyB, the broadcaster, claimed second having also logged a 31% uptick, spreading its resources relatively evenly between TV, press, radio and outdoor.

Unilever, the owner of Marmite and Hellmann's, witnessed a 3% contraction, with press, cinema and radio playing a lesser role, while TV expenses surged 10%, to £75.1m.

Tesco, the retailer, boosted budgets by 15% and registered £114.6m, some £64.3m of which translated into press ads, as TV obtained £42.6m.

In an indication of the intense competition among supermarkets, Asda's numbers climbed 12%, surpassing £113m, as the organisation's media mix closely matched that of Tesco.

In fifth was the Central Office of Information, which is accountable for handling most public sector campaigns, and slashed its funding by 50%, impacting all the channels assessed.

This is in keeping with the UK Government's promise to make substantial cost savings on communications.

Furniture chain DFS remained largely flat, posting £94.3m, and household goods specialist Reckitt Benckiser cut back by 3%, recording £80.9m.

In contrast, telecoms provider BT delivered a 94% lift, generating £79.4m, as TV, cinema and out-of-home, in particular, reaped the benefits in growth terms.

Kellogg's, the food manufacturer, invested £76.9m, down 5% year on year, but still came inside the top ten.

Other leading corporations raising their expenditure included two further supermarkets: Morrison's, increasing 17% to £73.6m, and rival Sainsbury's, improving 15% to £68.2m.

Marks & Spencer, the high-street network, augmented its spending by 66%, to £68.7m, and Nestle lodged a more modest 3% expansion, yielding £67.4m.

By medium, TV attracted just under £2.1bn, up 17%, from the top 100 advertisers, and press jumped 12%, securing £1.2bn.

Outdoor's total of £351.1m was hard to compare with the previous year because of changes in measurement techniques, while radio dipped 6%, on £199.3m, and cinema grew 13%, to £102.1m.

Data sourced from Marketing Magazine; additional content by Warc staff