Advertising spend soars

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Advertising is back in favour, with companies spending over a quarter more to promote their products in 1994, according to a report published yesterday.

Spending by the top 100 UK advertisers leapt 26.3 per cent on 1993, to £2.38bn. Analysts say this reflects a renewed confidence in the economy.

The spend increased evenly across all sectors. The only slip showed in the drinks market, which cut its budget by 8.3 per cent, mainly due to a significant 43 per cent promotional budget cut to £10m by Bass Brewers.

Procter & Gamble, the washing powder giant, heads the table of top spenders for the fourth year running, up 24 per cent to £118m. Unilever, with its ill-fated Persil Power, slipped back into third position despite spending more than in 1993 (£72m versus £70m).

Office automation and telecommunications saw the most impressive increase - 67.6 per cent. The single biggest jump came from BT, which moved up from fourth to second place in the top 100 with a spend of £103m compared with £61m in 1993. Mercury upped the ante with an increase of 57 per cent to £16m. Hutchison Telecom shot from 13th place in the sector to third, with just over £14m compared with £3m in 1993.The increase is due to the launch of its Orange phone network.

The financial services sector again increased its spending with a rise to 36 per cent. Abbey National was top spender at £26m.

In retailing there was no change in the top three. Dixons led the pack at £49m for the third year running, followed by Tesco with £33m and McDonalds with £31m. Overall spending in the retail sector was up 8 per cent.

The study, carried out by the survey organisation Register MEAL, was commissioned by Marketing Week.