Spending in measured media by the planet's top one hundred advertisers zoomed by 11.6% last year, according to the latest annual global marketing report from US trade bible Advertising Age.

This compares with a 2.6% decline in 2001 and growth of 7.1%in 2002. Nonetheless, the expanded 2003 spend had more to do with the sickly state of the US dollar and increases in ad rates than a booming world economy.

Leading the pack yet again was Procter & Gamble with expenditure of $5.76 billion (€4.45bn; £3.1bn), lagged by Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever at $3.54bn. Overall the centurions dug into their corporate pockets to the tune of $82.83bn compared with $74.25bn in 2002.

US-based advertisers were dominant among the big spenders as might be expected of the globe's largest economy. Between them they accounted for 48.7% of worldwide adspend - down from the 50.2% recorded in 2002 thanks to the debilitated dollar. But in dollar terms, spend rose to $40.36bn versus $37.31bn.

In Europe the centurions spent 12.9% more than in 2002, hitting $26.04 billion - in monetary terms better growth than the US dollar, but lagging well behind the euro's 20.1% spurt past the dollar.

The burgeoning Chinese economy was the main driver of growth in the Asia Pacific region. In the People's Republic, adspend surged 64% in 2003, well ahead of the region's dominant Japanese economy which posted an adspend decline for the third year in a row. Overall, Asia Pacific grew 13.8% to $11.22bn - or 13.5% of the global total.

But perhaps the most significant indicator of US economic muscle is that forty-seven of the top hundred marketers do not advertise beyond their own shores. By the same domestic yardstick, Japan had 16, Germany ten and France eight.

The full 53-page report can be downloaded for nominal cost from AdAge.com.

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