The U.S. Government and Procter & Gamble held steady as the top parent company radio advertisers in 2020, based on spot volume according to new data released by Media Monitors, which tracks advertising in 110 markets. Both advertised multiple entities (agencies for the government, products for P&G) and both dramatically upped their spot counts. The government aired 5.9 million commercials in 2020, led by a major push by the Census Bureau, while Procter & Gamble aired 44% more spots on radio than in 2019, totaling 5.3 million.
P&G ran 22% more spots across all media tracked by Media Monitors in 2020, compared to 2019. All in, the CPG giant ran a whopping 23.1 million spots in monitored markets on radio, broadcast TV and cable in 2020, compared to 18.9 million during the prior year, according to Media Monitors.
Among individual brands, ubiquitous auto insurers Progressive and GEICO were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in 2020. Progressive doubled its number of instances, airing 2.7 million spots in 2020 on AM/FM, up from 1.3 million in 2019, rising from No. 6 in 2019. GEICO held steady at No. 2 with 2.2 million occurrences in 2020, down from 2.5 million in 2019. The Home Depot, 2019’s top brand advertiser on radio, came in at No. 3 on the 2020 tally with 2.0 million spots, down from 2.6 million in 2019. Lowe’s moved up a notch from No. 5 to No. 4, upping its spot count from 1.4 million in 2019 to 1.7 million in 2020 as it aimed to take a larger share of the pandemic’s DIY home improvement trend amidst lockdown mandates.
Several new brands entered the top 10, including language learning app Babbel, which clocked in at No. 5 with 1.6 million radio spots. In September, the company reported its app had been downloaded more than 10 million times. Allstate recommitted to radio in a major way, lurching to No. 6 (1.6 million) from No. 57 in 2019 (369,000). The U.S. Census Bureau ran 1.3 million spots on radio encouraging Americans to participate in the Census to debut at No. 7, while Quicken Loans was No. 8 (1.2 million) up from No. 18.
Indeed ranked ninth with 1.2 million spots, down from third in 2019 (1.5 million) and Macy’s rounded out the top 10 with 1.1 million, about the same as in 2019 when it ranked seventh.
Falling out of the top 10 are McDonald’s (2019’s No. 4 radio advertiser, No. 13 in 2020); Sprint (No. 8 in 2019, No. 37 in 2020. However, Sprint merged with T-Mobile in April and its new parent company T-Mobile USA finished eighth in the top parent advertisers on radio.); JC Penney (9 in 2019, 24 in 2020) and Seriously (10 in 2019, No. 91 in 2020).
Across all media tracked by Media Monitors, GEICO was again the nation’s top national advertiser, airing 7.0 million instances, an increase over 2019, across local cable, broadcast TV and radio.
Procter & Gamble topped the TV and cable rankings.
“Faced with a pandemic, civil unrest and a presidential election, Procter & Gamble held the course on its advertising strategy,” Media Monitors President and CEO Philippe Generali said in a news release. “The company increased advertising of its brands in all channels, but particularly in radio, where it increased the number of instances by 44%.
“As the pandemic upended normal routines, an opportunity was created for some advertisers,” Generali continued. “For example, Babbel, a language learning app, rode a wave of increased interest in online education. The company advertised more on radio, where it entered the top 10 at number five. Meanwhile, insurance advertisers like GEICO and Progressive ran more spots for home and rental insurance and promoted givebacks on auto insurance.”