P&G spent just under £203m on advertising in 2007, to retain the number one spot in Marketing's Top 100 Advertisers. Its FMCG rival Unilever was pushed down into third place by COI Communications, which increased its spend by nearly 9% to just under £150m. According to Nielsen Media Research's figures, Unilever cut its spend by nearly 16%, slicing it down to £142m over the year.
Overall, advertising spend was up nearly 3% to £9.14bn, with the Top 100 responsible for more than 40% of that spend at £3.78bn, an increase of 6.8%. TV remained the biggest medium, with the Top 100 spending more than £2.02bn.
It was a very busy year for some advertisers. The public feud between BSkyB and Virgin Media had agencies and media buyers rubbing their hands, as BSkyB increased its spend 57.9% to £114.9m, and Virgin Media spent £50.6m, up 500.8%. And as supermarkets jostled for consumers' shopping baskets, Morrisons spent £54.8m, up 66.2%, to fight for a higher portion of market share.
For an abridged version of the top 100 biggest spending advertisers, see the table below. For the full list, with breakdowns by advertiser of their spend on TV, press, radio, cinema and outdoor, see the 20 February issue of Marketing magazine.
Given the gloomy economic predictions, some brands started to cut back on their advertising in 2007. In addition to Unilever, Vodafone has pruned its advertising spend by nearly 18%, and lottery body Camelot slashed its by almost a quarter (24.3%).
However, Procter & Gamble will not be curtailing its spend on promotional activity, according to Roisin O'Donnelly, corporate marketing director for UK and Ireland. 'We don't cut our budgets in recession. We look to boost innovation. Our spend is growing year on year and that will continue,' she said.
Richard Brooke, communications buying manager, Unilever UK and Ireland, puts its decrease down, in part, to the sale of Birds Eye. 'That has had an effect,' he says. 'Marketing spend is under pressure. There are now 500 TV channels and a raft