US trade magazine Advertising Age this week published its seventeenth annual list of the planet's top one hundred advertisers, ranked by spend across three of four continents.

The centurions countered the 2002 economic downturn by collectively upping their media spend 7.1% worldwide -- a marked contrast to the previous year's decline of 2.1%.

Ranked by total worldwide measured media-spending data from Nielsen Media Research, TNS Media Intelligence, Ibope and others, Procter & Gamble again comfortably led the field (see below), increasing its media expenditure by 21.9%. At the same time, Unilever ousted General Motors from the number two spot.

[Figures in parentheses indicate 2001 ranking. Global dollar expenditure in millions.]

01. (01) Procter & Gamble (USA) $4,479
02. (03) Unilever (UK/Holland) $3,315
03. (02) General Motors (USA) $3,218
04. (06) Toyota Motor (Japan) $2,405
05. (05) Ford Motor Co (USA) $2,387
06. (04) Time Warner (USA) $2,349
07. (07) DaimlerChrysler (Germany/USA) $1,800
08. (10) L'Oreal (France) $1,683
09. (09) Nestlé (Switzerland) $1,547
10. (16) Sony (Japan) $1,513

AdAge defines 'global' in this context as "a marketer advertising in three of four regions -- North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America". This criterion eliminated thirty regional-only marketers whose spend would otherwise have placed them in the top 100.

The full report and rankings can be downloaded from AdAge.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff