Taxpayer is Runner-Up to P&G As UK's Top Advertiser

27 February 2004

The Blair administration is increasingly profligate with the British taxpayers' pound -- and scathing though the nation's media may be, in one sector at least, it is delighted to collude!

The latest data published by UK trade journal Marketing shows COI Communications (the administrative interface between the British government and its roster of advertising and marketing agencies) was Albion's second largest advertiser in 2003 -- spending 15% more than in 2002.

Agencies and the media are currently molto agitato that a 'Nanny state' might deprive them of revenues by curtailing ads hyping fat and salt-laden foods or directed at kids. Sir Martin Sorrell has referred to the possibility of losses amounting to "billions in billings" worldwide [[WAMN:26-Feb-04].

But what the Lord might taketh away, the Lord already returneth in the form of government campaigns promoting issues such as flexible working hours, crime reduction and teacher recruitment

Topping the list of big spenders as usual is Procter & Gamble, up year-on-year by 13% according to Nielsen Media Research; although the Cincinnati colossus would almost certainly be relegated to second place if Unilever's adspend was collated and reported as a single figure.

Marketing's data for the calendar year 2003 is garnered from NMR and a variety of other sources. The figures for TV and radio come from the commercial stations concerned; billboard owners provide those for outdoor space, while press expenditure is calculated by the magazine itself. Cinema advertising is also included, although online adspend is not mentioned.

Here is the dominant decaset by estimated revenues …

01. Procter & Gamble: +12.8% from £165.7m to £186.9m.
02. COI Communications: +14.8% from £120.4m to £138.2m.
03. BT: minus 0.4% from £96.7m to £96.3m.
04. L'Oreal Golden: +27.6% from £70.8m to £90.3m.
05. Ford Motor Company: minus 16.6% from £94.9m to £79.1m.
06. Lever Faberge Personal Care: +19.1% from £58.6m to £69.8m.
07. Nestlé: +8.3% from £63.4m to £68.7m.
08. Orange: +12.3% from £55.7m to £62.5m.
09. Masterfoods: minus 6.9% from £67m to £62.3m.
10. DFS (furniture retailer): +3.4% from £59.3m to £61.4m.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff