Major ad spenders increased budgets by 9%, pharmaceuticals led the way

The nations’ top advertisers ignited growth in the nation’s media in 2003 by scoring a resounding 9% growth in their U.S. advertising to $90.31 billion, according to Advertising Age’s 49th annual 100 Leading National Advertisers’ report. General Motors Corp. once again led the nation in total advertising at $3.43 billion, down 1.4%. Closing fast was No. 2 Procter & Gamble Co. at $3.32 billion, up 24.3%. P&G would have caught GM with ad growth of 28.3%. In 2004, it seems poised to reclaim the ad crown it lost to the automaker in 1997.

Driving the ad-spending growth in 2003 were marketers in four key Top 100 categories – pharmaceuticals, claiming $12.13 billion in total advertising, up 14.3%; entertainment and media at $10.9 billion, up 11.1%; personal care, at $8.09 billion, up 9%; and telecommunications, at $7.6 billion, up 15.3%. Autos, the biggest ad category at $13.78 billion grew only 5.4% in total advertising from 10 automakers in the Top 100. Advertising not only dropped at GM, but fell 0.8% at No. 6 Ford Motor Co.