Samsung Overtakes P&G As World’s Largest Advertiser



There’s a new world order among the Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers as Samsung Electronics Co. takes the top spot from Procter & Gamble Co.

The South Korean consumer electronics and appliance marketer pumped $11.2 billion into advertising and sales promotion in 2017, a 13 percent increase. That moved it ahead of packaged-goods powerhouse P&G, which spent an estimated $10.5 billion on advertising and other marketing costs in the year ended June 2018, little changed from the previous year.

Samsung’s 2017 ‘The New Normal’ spot showed technology through the eyes of an emerging generation.

Direct correlation or not, Samsung increased spending as it worked to get past the highly publicized 2016 recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phone following issues of exploding batteries.

The new ranking of the 100 biggest spenders comes from Ad Age Datacenter’s all-in assessment of reported or estimated total spending on advertising, marketing services (including promotion and direct marketing) and digital marketing.

P&G is still the world’s largest spender on a narrower definition of advertising. P&G reported $7.1 billion in advertising costs in the year ended June 2018, including TV, print, radio, internet and in-store ads. Samsung’s reported advertising expenses, excluding its massive sales promotion budget, came in at $4.8 billion in 2017.

Total ad spending for the Ad Age World’s 100 Largest Advertisers rose 4.9 percent to $279 billion in 2017, with spending increases at 68 companies. The ranking includes a roster of global brand marketers from Samsung to Mazda Motor Corp. (No. 100 on the list at $1.1 billion).

Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers ranking: Ad Age’s ranking of the top 100 spenders based on total worldwide advertising spending.
Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers database: Profiles, ad spending, executives and key global agencies of top 100 spenders.
Biggest advertisers in 100 countries and markets: Rankings based on measured-media spending.
By Ad Age’s calculation, 105 companies had 2017 worldwide ad spending greater than $1 billion.

The top 100 ranking includes four Chinese marketers that collectively boosted 2017 worldwide spending 45 percent. Most of their spending was in China, the second-largest ad market.

Alibaba Group Holding, China’s biggest online retailer, more than doubled 2017 worldwide ad and promotion spending to $2.7 billion, the fastest growth among the top 100 spenders.

Ad and promotion spending at Chinese internet power Tencent Holdings surged 46 percent to $2 billion, the second-highest growth.

SAIC Motor Corp., China’s largest domestic auto group, boosted ad spending 23 percent to $2 billion. Yili Group, the country’s largest dairy marketer, increased ad spending 6 percent to $1.2 billion.

Internet-centric marketers dominate Ad Age’s tally of the world’s fastest-growing ad spenders. Alphabet (Google), Netflix and Amazon boosted 2017 spending 32 percent, 29 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

The top 100 ranking includes 10 internet-age companies—Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Netflix, Tencent and five others—that last year collectively increased global ad spending by 29.6 percent. Spending for the remaining 90 companies rose 2.6 percent.

Amazon vaulted to the No. 7 spot from No. 11 among global advertisers with ad and promotion spending of $6.3 billion, tied with AT&T.

Ad Age ranked AT&T on a pro forma basis using the sum of 2017 spending for AT&T ($3.8 billion) and WarnerMedia, formerly Time Warner ($2.5 billion). AT&T acquired Time Warner in June.

Personal care and household products was the biggest category among the Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers with 14 marketers spending $52 billion. Automotive was second with 16 automakers spending $47 billion.

The top 100 includes 47 companies based in North America, 31 in Europe and 22 in Asia.

The U.S. is home to 44 of the marketers, followed by Japan (13), Germany (10) and France (nine).

Ten of the Ad Age World’s Largest Advertisers had no significant U.S. measured-media spending in 2017: Automakers PSA Group and Renault (France) and SAIC (China); retailers Aeon Co. (Japan), Carrefour (France) and Rewe Group (Germany); telecoms Telefónica (Spain) and Vodafone Group (U.K.); and China’s Tencent and Yili.

The global ranking complements the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers report (; 66 of the 100 biggest U.S. spenders (and 80 of the 200 biggest U.S. spenders) made the ranking of the top 100 global spenders.

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