The last fifty years have seen sweeping changes in the US advertising scene. But spanning this tumultuous half-century, one constant remains.

In 2004, for the thirtieth time in the last fifty years, the same two advertisers dominate the US spending chart.

According to the Advertising Age 100 Leading National Advertising Report, published Monday, General Motors continues to lead the field with adspend totalling $3.997 million (€3,289.17m; £2,189.9m) followed by Procter & Gamble, close on its heels with $3.920m.

And although the top twosome retain the same pecking order as in 1955 when GM led the field with P&G as runner-up, the dollar values in those long-gone days were dramatically less: respectively $170.4m and $85m.

This is how the US Top Ten stacked up in 2004 (expenditure parenthesized in $ millions ) ...

  1. General Motors (3,997.4)
  2. Procter & Gamble (3,919.7)
  3. Time Warner (3,283.1)
  4. Pfizer (2,957.3)
  5. SBC Communications (2,686.8)
  6. DaimlerChrysler (2,262.1)
  7. Ford Motor Company (2,458.0)
  8. Walt Disney Company (2,241.5)
  9. Verizon Communications (2,197.3)
  10. Johnson & Johnson (2,175.7)
The AdAge Top 100 expenditure listing in full, plus a further 93-pages of comparative data can be downloaded free by clicking here.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff