Hampered by an historic hurricane and the looming fiscal cliff but buoyed by a presidential election and the summer Olympics, advertisers managed a 2 percent jump on ad spend in 2012 over 2011, according to Nielsen. On a year-over-year basis, advertising expenditures increased 1 percent in the first, second and fourth quarters. The ad-heavy U.S. election and Olympics led to the third quarter’s 7 percent YOY growth, which was the biggest driver of the year’s modest overall annual increase, noted a NielsenWire blog.
Not surprisingly, some advertisers spent more than others as they closed out the year. U.S. auto companies, for example, touted their typical year-end deals and promotions as the year wound down, bringing them into first place for fourth-quarter ad spend. Department stores increased their ad spending as well via holiday sales and doorbusters to bring them up from a fifth-place ranking in the third quarter to the second-place spot in the fourth. The wireless/telecom, fast food restaurants, pharmaceuticals and motion picture categories remained on the top 10 list in the fourth quarter from the third quarter.