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THE TREND IN NEGATIVE AD SPENDING REVERSES IN 1992, ACCORDING TO ADVERTISING AGE'S ANNUAL 100 LEADING NATIONAL ADVERTISERS REPORT

 NEW YORK, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's top advertisers ended their hibernation and reversed a negative trend in ad spending in 1992, at least temporarily. The 100 Leading National Advertisers elevated spending levels a collective 5.6 percent to $36.2 billion. In recession-plagued 1991, they only managed a decrease of that same magnitude.
 Now, the Top 100 is back at 1990 spending levels, according to Advertising Age's 38th annual report on the 100 Leading National Advertisers.
 Procter & Gamble Co. clings to its lead with U.S. advertising of $2.17 billion. Runner-up Philip Morris Cos. spent $2.02 billion. But neither could claim to have led ad spending's reawakening since P&G totals were up only 0.7 percent and Philip Morris' were down 2.3 percent. Those in the vanguard of higher spending levels were largely the automotive, business and consumer services, and pharmaceutical companies.
 Even this regrouping may not last. Advertising in first quarter 1993 showed serious signs of returning to the 1991 slumberland, slipping to a 3.8 percent growth from first quarter 1992, according to Competitive Media Reporting data monitored for 11 media.
 The top 100 emerge as the media workhorses in 1992, accounting for 27.6 percent of the $131.3 billion in total U.S. media, up slightly from 27.1 percent in 1991, noted CMR. The top 100 spent an additional $15.3 billion in unmeasured non-media advertising, particularly direct response and sales promotion, to bring total expenditures to $36.2 billion.
 Media's $20.9 billion portion of the total drew strong support from network TV, up 4.4 percent to $7.9 billion; spot TV, up 5.7 percent to $4 billion; and magazines, up 13.3 percent to $3.2 billion. During 1991, the top 100's spending on network TV fell 3.1 percent in magazines. Likewise, during 1992 only 30 on the chart reported overall ad spending cuts, compared with 60 in 1991.
 The top 100, stretching to No. 100 NYNEX Corp. at $112.6 million in advertising, included eight new entrants. Added by virtue of increased ad spending from existing operations were No. 87 Dillard's Department Stores, No. 88 Roll International (Franklin Mint), No. 90 Hewlett- Packard Co., No. 92 Bayer AG, No. 93 Mattel, No. 98 Brown-Forman Co. and NYNEX Corp. Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH entered the list because of spending associated with Coty cosmetics division bought from Pfizer Co.
 Media's pivotal ad categories were sustained by spending from the top 100, according to the Ad Age report. The group accounted for half the media claimed by automobile, food and drug categories, 40 percent of entertainment and 30 perfect of retail.
 Top 100 companies own all top 10 brands in the $47.4 billion soft-drink market, a hegemony duplicated in the $7.56 billion ready-to-eat cereals market, $4.91 billion pet-foods market, $2.63 billion coffee market, and $2.57 billion market for pain relievers. Nine of 10 top brands in the beer and shampoo markets also are in the top 100's domain.
 Companies continue to be preoccupied by pricing. Hardly a category remains untouched by this approach to sustaining sales levels through tough times. Pricing moves, as frequent in 1993 as in 1992, brought chaos to some market categories and changed the players in others.
 As an example Ad Age cites Philip Morris USA's price cuts and promotional changes which have thrown the $45 billion cigarette industry into disarray this year. Fewer cigarette brands, market share swings and reduced advertising are seen as likely in the industry's future. Advertising of cigarettes in 1992 dropped 23 percent. Philip Morris was backed into its price-cutting move because of encroachment on its No. 1 Marlboro by discount brands. They have risen from just 7.8 percent of industry sales two years ago to 20.2 percent in 1992 and even higher this year.
 Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. in 1992 embraced value pricing by placing a fixed, lowered price on certain car models that are prepackaged with attractive options. This technique, a variation on the one-price sticker concept pioneered by GM's Saturn Corp. to encourage hassle-free selling, moved older, slow-selling '93 models. The pricing schemes only exacerbated the plight of importers hurt by the dollar's decline.
 Pricing ruled the diaper market as brand builders tried to fight off private-label inroads. The demise of P&G's declining Luvs brand is now seen as a possibility. The same is true for ready-to-eat cereals where budget-priced private labels have grown at a 12.3 percent clip in the 12-month period through mid-July, compared with the overall category's 5.3 percent uptick.
 P&G placed its new formulations for Tide and Cheer on everyday low pricing in early 1993, putting pressure on virtually every marketer in the $4.5 billion detergent category.
 Intense price promotions, introduced by brewers and wholesaler to meet market projections, left Budweiser and Miller Lite, the nation's two leading beer brands, with reduced market share. The promotions were designed to spark a market gone flat.
 Aside from sustaining sales and beating back encroachment from store brands, pricing is encouraging a high-end tier where margins still compensate for lower mass-market sales.
 And, Ad Age reports that new products in 1992 provided forward spin in virtually every category in the report. "Ices" came to beers, baking sodas to toothpaste, snacks to cereal a la Rice Krispie treats, white colas to soft drinks, "ultra everything" to detergents, "800" wars to long-distance carriers, low-cost, reduced-services to airlines, "big" food to fast-food, thinner liners to diapers, and specialty roasts to coffees.
 -0- 9/29/93
 /CONTACT: Meryl Suben of Porter Novelli, 312-856-8883/


CO: Advertising Age ST: New York IN: ADV SU: ECO

PS -- NY018 -- 6721 09/29/93 10:08 EDT
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