Advertisers spent $19.1 billion pitching their products in the first quarter, a 4.6% increase over last year, a survey found, as the U.S. economy remained strong and Internet companies advertised more.
General Motors Corp. was the leading advertiser, spending $622.7 million, a 16.4% increase, Competitive Media Reporting said. Pampers and Crisco oil maker Procter & Gamble Co. was the second-biggest advertiser, even though it cut its spending 10% to $393 million. DaimlerChrysler was third, spending $340.4 million, a 4.1% decrease.
"The economy is humming along, and advertisers are still bullish," said Mike Drexler, chairman of TN Media, a unit of True North Communications Inc., the world's seventh-biggest advertising company.
The survey tracked dollars spent on television, newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor advertising. Competitive Media is a unit of Netherlands-based media company VNU.
While car companies spent the most, spending by Internet companies rose the fastest. Spending in the category more than doubled to $284 million, led by AT&T; Corp., America Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Snap.com, a joint venture between General Electric Co.'s NBC and Xoom.com Inc., increased its spending 77-fold to $14.2 million.
McDonald's Corp. had the most-advertised brand name, followed by Grand Metropolitan's Burger King and Circuit City Group.