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Sky regains position as UK’s biggest ad spender

March 10, 2020

Sky was the UK’s biggest spender in traditional advertising in 2019 according to Nielsen AdIntel data. Procter & Gamble overtook Sky in 2018, but fell to third place, whilst McDonald’s took second place.

Traditional advertising spend increased by over £55 million (€63.2m) in 2019, proving that these media channels continue to provide value for advertisers. Sky’s advertising spend increased by 44.1 per cent, up from £124 million in 2018 to £178.8 million in 2019. The broadcaster ran numerous campaigns throughout the year, two of which featured a collaboration with the film The Secret Life of Pets 2 to promote the Broadband Buddy parental control system and Wifi Guarantee. McDonald’s, which ranked third in 2018, increased its advertising spend by a significant 23.7 per cent, securing the second spot ahead of Procter & Gamble. This was spearheaded by McDonald’s advertising pushes around its range of wraps and extended breakfast offerings. Procter & Gamble had the biggest decline of the top spenders, decreasing spend by -26.8 per cent.

Amazon overtook BT (the latter of which was down -20 per cent to £87.3 million) to take fourth place, increasing its spend by 29.1 per cent (£88.2 million in 2018 to £113.9 million in 2019) with campaigns for the Amazon Echo, and promotions of live Premier Leagye football coverage and special programming for Amazon Prime members. Unilever maintained its position in seventh place (down -0.8 per cent to £82.1 million), while Camelot Group (UK National Lottery) entered the top 10 for the first time, as it increased its spend from £53.3 million to £68.9 million in 2019.

Table: Top 10 UK advertisers in 2019 versus spend in 2018

Advertiser 2019 2018
Grand Total £1,050,303,836 £995,031,817
Sky UK
£178,759,756 £124,059,311
McDonald’s Restaurants
£151,554,235 £122,498,581
Procter & Gamble
£137,498,128 £187,822,071
Amazon (UK)
£113,852,333 £88,197,646
£87,288,035 £109,108,858
Reckitt Benckiser (UK)
£84,217,179 £83,832,318
Unilever UK
£82,101,830 £82,793,226
Tesco Plc £80,829,122 £74,745,677
Camelot Group
£68,860,442 £53,281,823
Asda Stores
£65,342,776 £68,692,306

Barney Farmer, UK Commercial Director at Nielsen, said: “Spend on traditional advertising has increased by more £55 million over the last year, which shows just how important brands and retailers feel these channels are in helping them to reach their consumers within the trusted media environments that these provide. We can see there has been a slight shift in budgets for the top five biggest ad spenders who have either moved up or down in the rankings over the last year. For Procter and Gamble, this has taken less of a priority, whilst Sky and McDonald’s have invested more in these channels as a way to promote their biggest offers widely. Much like last year, this decision does not appear to be consistent across sectors.”

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