Olympics, Obama Aided '08 Ad Spend Picture
Dec. 12, 2008: Ad spend may be down everywhere but online, according to analysts and research companies, but it could have been worse in 2008 if not for the Summer Olympics and the intense race for the presidency. The 2008 Games in Beijing boosted third-quarter network TV ad spending and turned a six-month loss into a nine month gain with year-to-date expenditures up 3%, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Some 3,300 hours of programming where shown on NBC and its multitude of divisions, while numerous marketers took advantage of a global audience to use the Olympics to get their messages out. The top 10 advertisers in the first nine months of 2008 spent a combined total of $12.8 billion, down 0.2% from last year. Across the top 50 companies, representing nearly one-third of total ad expenditures, spending fell by 2.1%, per TNS. For the nine month period, Internet display ads increased 7%; however, TNS said growth rates have been getting smaller for five consecutive quarters. Procter & Gamble was the largest advertiser from January-September with $2.3 billion in ad spend. However, that was a drop of 5.9% from a year ago. No. 2 Verizon spent $1.7 billion, up nearly 13%. Most notable was General Motors' ad spend of $1.6 billion, which was up 15%. However, GM already has initiated major cuts in its marketing budget for 2009. The top five also included AT&T ($1.4 billion, down 13.7%) and Time Warner ($1 billion, down 10.5%). The top five categories based on ad spend were automotive, financial services, local services and amusements, telecom and retail, per TNS.