NEW YORK: Despite the siren calls of agencies and media owners to carry on spending through tough times, the 100 top advertisers in the US increased their budgets by a paltry 1.7% last year, while measured media rose an almost imperceptible 0.3% during 2007.
The latest Advertising Age 100 Leading National Advertiser Profiles shows the biggest names failed to keep up the pace of adspend with real GDP (up 2.2%) or with inflation (up 2.8%).
In addition, the report also shows a steady shift away from measured media - such as print and TV - which accounted for 58.1% of top marketers' US adspend, down from 58.9% in 2006.
The LNA cut measured spend on newspapers by 8.5%, while they trimmed TV spending by 1.2%.
Online spend proved to be a brighter spot in the general gloom. Measured spend on web display ads last year increased by a robust 33% for the 100 LNA, according to data from researcher TNS Media Intelligence.
Web display ads accounted for 6.8% of LNA measured spending in 2007, up from 5.1% in 2006 (and more than double 2003's three percent).
In effect, top-tier marketers increased measured internet spend by $1 billion (€644m; £509m), slashed newspaper spending by $674 million and cut TV budgets by $406m.
The world's biggest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, increased US spending by 7.1% to a record-breaking $5.2bn during 2007, numbers which keep it at the top of the LNA league
General Motors' estimated US adspend, on the other hand, plunged 8.7% to $3bn, moving it down to fourth place, a far cry from its position at the head of the league as recently as 2004.
Overall automotive spending slumped 6.4% to $18.5bn), which makes the category now the second-largest, behind retail at $18.7bn. In third place is the telecoms category, with a spend of $10.9bn.
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Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff