BEIJING: Chinese adspend grew year-on-year by just 7% in August, compared with an average of 19% in the first seven months of 2008, as the Beijing Olympics failed to deliver expected volumes of marketing activity, reports The Nielsen Company.

Overall advertising expenditure reached yuan 40.3 billion ($5.3bn; €4.1bn; £3.2bn) in August, the lowest total since the yuan 38.6bn recorded in May 2007, according to Nielsen's Asia Pacific media unit.

The relatively slow growth was attributed to the fact that while official sponsors of the Games increased their media outlay, other advertisers cut back on their marketing spend.

By contrast, when Athens and Atlanta hosted the Games, local ad revenues rose by some 25%.

According to Richard Basil-Jones, managing director of Nielsen Media Research Asia Pacific: “In sheer trend curves it looked like a dip, especially compared to our expectations”. 

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group, said his organisation witnessed a similar trend, but that Chinese adspend levels had since risen. 

Says he: “There is an argument to say that because China was so concerned about pollution, and ... closed down so many factories [during the Olympics] that GNP was affected It was quiet and activity was lower. People stopped working to watch the games.”

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff