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As the economy began to bounce back last year, the top 50 b2b advertisers spent an estimated $3.74 billion on b2b ads, up 7.5% from $3.48 billion in 2009, according to an analysis of ad spending data from Kantar Media.
The figures include estimated b2b ad spending in business magazines, consumer magazines, newspapers, online, outdoor, radio and TV.
Categories that saw increases last year included outdoor (+15.9%); cable TV (+13.8%); Internet display advertising (+8.6%); and network TV (+2.1%), based on spending by the top 50 b2b advertisers. Categories that showed decreases included network radio (-17.4%); national newspapers (-13.5%); and b2b publications (-13.4%).
The top b2b advertiser was AT&T, which spent an estimated $325.0 million on b2b ads last year, up 6.0% over 2009. AT&T launched a rebranding campaign last year called “Rethink Possible,” created by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta, which included TV, print and online ads. It made heavy use of social media to promote the campaign, such as posting TV commercials on YouTube and tweeting about the effort.
“Interactive is an essential and growing component of our marketing mix,” said Esther Lee, senior VP-brand marketing and advertising at AT&T.
“It can demonstrate brand POV [point of view] in ways other channels cannot; it helps us ensure we're in front of people during their consideration process. It's a key point of conversion and sales. And, with the advent of social media, it's becoming a critical platform for loyalty and advocacy.”
The No. 2 b2b advertiser last year was Verizon Communications, which spent an estimated $269.7 million on b2b ads, down 17.8% from 2009, when Verizon was ranked No. 1 on the list of top b2b advertisers.
Last year, Verizon launched a new brand campaign with the tagline “Rule the Air,” created by mcgarrybowen, New York. It replaced Verizon's longstanding “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign. The new campaign included TV, print and online ads, and was designed to promote Verizon's network strength among consumers and business users.
Also last year, Verizon Business, the b2b arm of Verizon, introduced an ad campaign called “Altogether Better,” created by McCann Erickson Salt Lake City. The campaign included the first TV ad for Verizon Business in several years, as well as print ads in national newspapers, business publications and vertical magazines.
The TV ads ran on broadcast and cable networks including CBS, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business and the Golf Channel. Print ads ran in publications including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CIO, Forbes, Fortune and Healthcare Informatics.
No. 3 last year was Microsoft Corp., which spent an estimated $249.9 million on b2b ads, up 30.2% from 2009. Microsoft launched “We're All In,” an integrated campaign for its cloud computing solutions. The campaign, created by JWT New York, included print and online ads.
Microsoft also continued its Windows 7 campaign, “I'm a PC,” which launched in 2009 and was created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.; that effort included TV, print, online and out-of-home.
Rounding out the top 10 were: Sprint Nextel Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Apple, Southwest Airlines and Deutsche Telekom. IBM dropped to No. 6 from No. 4 in last year's report, spending an estimated $154.6 million on b2b ads, down 22.0% from 2009.
“From a marketing mix standpoint, we are using the whole gamut,” said John Kennedy, VP-corporate marketing at IBM Corp. “We advertise on television in an important way. Our advertising plan is built around major sponsorships with the Masters (PGA Tour), the U.S. Open (tennis and golf), the NFL playoffs and large anchor TV buys.”
Last year, IBM rolled out new TV spots for its “Smarter Planet” campaign, developed by Ogilvy & Mather New York, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament. It also ran a digital out-of-home campaign in airports called “Smarter Cities,” showcasing how IBM is helping key city systems such as transportation, energy and health care.
HP dropped to No. 7 from No. 6 in last year's report, spending an estimated $119.6 million on b2b ads, down 2.1% from 2009. Last year, HP rolled out a rebranding campaign called “Let's Do Amazing,” which was estimated at $40 million. The campaign, developed by 72andSunny, Los Angeles, included TV, print, radio and online.
American Express jumped to No. 11 from No. 15 on last year's report, spending an estimated $99.8 million on b2b ads, up 69.7% over 2009. A big push last year for American Express was a new campaign called “Start Booming,” designed to show how small businesses are helping to revitalize the still-struggling economy. The campaign—created by Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.—included TV, print and online.
GE dropped down to No. 13 from No. 7 on last year's list, decreasing its b2b ad spending by approximately 25.6% to $84.3 million. GE continued its “ecomagination” and “healthymagination” ad campaigns, created by BBDO New York. It introduced its “healthymagination” TV campaign during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.Download the Full List