US advertising weekly Advertising Age has nominated rival cable and communications colossi Verizon and AT&T as the nation's highest-rolling brands.

Based on data supplied by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, each spent more than $1 billion on measured media in 2003, the second year in succession the brands had topped the magic billion.

Occupying the top five places (dollar amounts are millions; percentages are +/- compared with 2002) are ...

1. Verizon $1,178 (+11.1%)
2. AT&T $1,036 (-3.4%)
3. Ford $853 (-3.2%)
4. Sprint $805 (+23.9%)
5. Nissan $776 (+38.5%)

Adage defines 'maga-brands' as those with an annual spend of over $200 million and sixty-six companies met this criterion. Between them this elite spent $41.4bn -- a total that for the first time includes Spanish-language TV, business magazines, local magazines and the internet, an overall increase on 2002 of 12.4%.

Spending on print media was up 8.3%, while all TV showed a modest gain of only 3.4% -- held back by spot TV which declined 5.4% to a total of $16.2bn, the sole media category to lose ground. Network TV gained a mere 1.8% to a total of $20.4bn.

The full data can be downloaded from AdAge by clicking here.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff