U.S. Advertising Flat in Q1

Despite a downturn in the economy, advertising spending remained flat, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus findings released today. While some segments plummeted like local Sunday supplements (down 13.5%), business-to-business (-6.1%), national newspaper ads (-6.2%) and local newspaper ads (-5.4%), other channels surged.

National Sunday supplements ads rose 19.2%; cable TV was up 12.9%, as was African-American television. Network radio spiked 10% and Spanish language TV grew 7.7%.

“Despite a general downward outlook for the economy we are finding mixed results in advertising growth.  Some media are certainly impacted while others seem to be growing despite our current challenges,” said Annie Touliatos, director of product development, Nielsen Monitor-Plus. “National Sunday supplements are bucking the general downward trend we see for the newspaper media that we cover. Growth is an indication of health and in this economic situation resilience; so for the media that are growing it’s a good thing.”

The top-10 advertisers increased their spend by 1.8%, shelling out $4.2 billion in media in the first quarter. PepsiCo boosted its media dollars the most. At $355 million, it increased its spend 40% to support Amp, Pepsi Max, G2, Propel and SoBe Life Water.

Procter & Gamble bolstered its media spend by 20% to $902 million to promote Cover Girl, Crest, Dawn, Gilette, Olay and other products.

Automotive companies are still the largest buyers of media at $2.7 billion. Despite an 8.3% dip in advertising, the auto category is still double the next largest category, pharmaceutical which doled out $1.3 billion. Auto dealerships were third at $1.1 billion, per Nielsen (parent to Brandweek).

Among the top-10 spenders, Ford slashed their media budget the most (-26%). AT&T was second at -16% followed by Johnson & Johnson (11%).