NEW YORK -- Competition for selling vans and SUVs helped boost U.S. ad spending in 2004, with top automakers shelling out marketing dollars at a faster rate than nearly any other industry, Nielsen Monitor-Plus said Tuesday.
General Motors' annual ad spending rose 19.2 percent to $2.58 billion in media tracked by Nielsen, followed by DaimlerChrysler AG, which increased its advertising by 34.6 percent to $1.8 billion and Ford Motor Co., which spent 18 percent more on marketing at $1.55 billion. Total auto factory spending rose 18 percent to $10.4 billion.
Nielsen cited increased budgets for marketing SUVs and vans, including the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Durango and the Cadillac SRX.
Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble remained the largest single advertiser, increasing its spending 9.5 percent to $3.03 billion. Other top advertisers included SBC Communications and Johnson & Johnson, both with more than $1.3 billion in spending.
Credit card services were the fastest growing advertising category, rising 32.4 percent to $1.8 billion, followed by prescription drugs, which rose 27.6 percent to $4.1 billion.
Total U.S. advertising spending rose 6.3 percent in 2004, boosted by U.S. presidential elections and the Summer Olympics.
Nielsen did not provide spending figures for other individual automakers.
Nielsen is part of Dutch publisher VNU.