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Procter & Gamble takes top spot as largest ad spender

2 minute read | February 2019

McDonald’s leaps to third-biggest advertiser in the U.K.

Procter & Gamble was the UK’s biggest spender in traditional advertising in 2018. Sky overtook the consumer goods corporation in 2017, but now comes in at second place.

McDonald’s Restaurants was the third biggest spender, jumping from fifth place in 2018, with advertising spend having increased by 28%.

McDonald’s spend increased from £95.6m in 2017 to £122.6m in 2018, overtaking BT (down 5.6% to £109.3m) and Unilever (down 29.2% to £82.8m) – the first time that Unilever has fallen out of the top three advertisers in the last five years.

Other significant movers include Amazon, which increased advertising spend by 18% (£74m to £87.5m), and Compare the Market (up 30% to £62.2m) and Camelot Lottery (up 40% to £53.3m).

Sky (down 30% to £124m) had the biggest decline among the top spenders. In terms of supermarket retailers, Asda has risen into the top 10, showing double digit percentage increase in advertising spend. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s dropped from the Top 100, with Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl also showing to have reduced their spend in 2018.

With traditional advertising spend down 1.41% from 2017, our latest data highlights the changing advertising strategies from the biggest brands and retailers. However, it’s interesting that the rise and fall of advertising spend doesn’t seem to be consistent within sectors. While most supermarket retailers have opted to reduce spend, Asda and Tesco increased their spend, and this is the same for finance, with HSBC and Natwest dropping spend but many others continuing to show increases in year-on-year spend. There are many factors influencing this, from hardening budgets due to Brexit, to competition within the sector. There are likely to be some interesting times ahead.

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