First-Half Ad Spending Up 6.4 Percent

NEW YORK Paid political messages, combined with an increase in spending among traditional marketers such as Procter & Gamble, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan, helped boost advertising by 6.4 percent for the first half of the year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, which is owned by Adweek Magazines parent VNU.

Ad spending was up across all 10 reported media, led by local magazines (up 12.7 percent), followed by cable TV (12.5), national newspapers (10), network TV (7.5), national magazines (6), network radio (5.5), spot TV (3.3), spot radio (3), and local newspapers (2).

Although political spending is expected to accelerate in the second half of the year, Monitor-Plus reported that 356,161 commercials have already aired on spot TV, with the greatest number placed by the two presidential candidates. The John Kerry campaign aired 131,707 spots, slightly more than the 123,285 aired by the George W. Bush campaign. Nearly a third of the spots (106,284) were placed in TV news programs.

Other popular choices for political ads included network morning shows and daytime talk programs such as The Dr. Phil Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Live With Regis & Kelly.

With only two exceptions, the top 10 advertisers spent $8 billion in the first half of 2004, an 11.3 percent gain over 2003. The No. 1 advertiser, Procter & Gamble, increased its budget 10.6 percent to $1.45 billion. The top four automotive advertisers also increased spending: General Motors was up 7.7 percent to $1.2 billion; DaimlerChrysler AG up 55.9 percent to $887 million; Ford up 11.6 percent to $705 milllion; and Nissan up 21.3 percent to $545 million.