Computer giant Hewlett-Packard has rewritten its definintion of 'advertising' so as to deflate its apparent budgetary spend.

Having moved the goalposts, the Palo Alto-headquartered firm is now the most efficient ad spender among leading technology businesses, after retrospectively stripping $1.3 billion (€1.06bn; £740m) from its 2003/2004 budgets.

Explains a spokeswoman: "To more accurately reflect our advertising expenses HP updated the advertising classifications to current industry benchmarks and used this in reporting the [2005] advertising expenses . . . To ensure consistency of reporting, HP provided a restatement of previous year advertising expenses."

Fiscal 2005 aspend figures are $1.1bn, or 1.27% of overall expenditure, following HP's decision to exclude such items as 'public relations and tradeshow expenses'.

This revision has brought the company to the top of the efficiency league, most importantly ahead of archrival Dell Computers.

With a 2005 measured spend of $508m, HP ranked second among tech advertisers in US measured media spending in the period 2003-2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Dell was top with measured spending of $775m.

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