DETROIT: TNS Media Intelligence reports that General Motors cut back US adspend last year by a swingeing $600 million (€461.36m; £307.5m) - a reduction greater than the entire annual global spend of many multinational advertisers - for example Cadbury-Schweppes, Wrigley and Nokia.

However, GM disputes the TNS numbers which are based on eleven months tracking over the period January-November 2006. They show stateside spend at $2.03bn versus $2.65bn in 2005.

But GM insists it cut measured expenditure by "only" $300 million or 10% - still a massive cutback by any criterion. Moreover, claims Betsy Lazar, executive director-advertising and media operations, the automaker shifted significantly more dollars online, a channel she believes is under-reported by TNS.

TNS stands by its methodology, which was unchanged over the two years in question. According to the researcher, $303.3m of the $627.4m was lopped from the corporate advertising budget, the remainder from nameplate (dealer support) spending.

"We weren't down that much," avers Mark LaNeve, GM's North America vp of sales and marketing, reiterating that the fall was in the region of ten percent. However, he conceded there had been a "big drop" in corporate ad spending which he declined to quantify. He added that 2007 spend will remain "flat".

Industry observers say that GM has been ploughing more money into channels which are less transparent to expenditure tracking: direct marketing, websites, online video, event marketing, branded entertainment and internet advertising.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff