LONDON: Coca-Cola was the biggest brand in the UK by sales last year, taking a total of £969 million ($1.4bn; €1.0bn) according to Nielsen Media Research, which also predicts the British government could overtake Procter & Gamble as the country's largest advertiser in 2009.

Nielsen reports that Warburton's bread was the second biggest-selling brand in Britain last year, with sales rising by 16% on an annual basis in to £710m.

Other members of the top ten brands by sales include Hovis, Kingsmill, Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Walkers Crisps and Nescafé, while Danone Activia was the fastest-growing brand for the year as a whole, with sales up 42% on an annual basis.

However, Nielsen also found that Procter & Gamble cut its adspend in the UK by 10% last year to £178.7m, while the government's ad expenditure – through the COI – rose 20% to £178.1m.

Outdoor was the only channel not to benefit from the increase in outlay from the COI, with the organisation's expenditure level through the medium falling 8.5%, while Procter & Gamble also slashed its out-of-home budget by over 40%.

Other major advertisers such as British Airways (–29%), Toyota (–31%) and John Lewis (–32%) also substantially reduced their adspend last year.

Data sourced from Marketing Magazine/Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff