The billionaires' club

Lots of companies have huge ad budgets. But after you've accumulated $100 million here and $100 million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money: $1 billion to spend, all on ads.

Thirty-six companies in the USpend more than $US1 billion ($A958 million) a year on ads, according to US magazine Advertising Age.

Apple was the most recent company to cross the magic $1 billion mark. The others run the gamut, from consumer goods companies to telecommunications entities.

36. Apple: $1 billion

Apple's ad budget rose only marginally from a base of $467 million in 2007 until 2010. That year, Apple began a series of new product launches in both the iPhone and iPad lines that has continued unabated, most recently with iPhone5 and iPad Mini, both coming in the past few weeks. Apple reached the $1 billion mark in its fiscal 2011 year, which ended recently.

35. General Mills: $1.002 billion

Most of General Mills' ad budget is spent on television ads ($835 million). It is tied with Pfizer on our list for spending the lowest percentage of its ad budget, just 0.2 per cent, on billboards.

34. Google: $1.005 billion

Google has increased its ad spending by 60 per cent since last year, giving it the biggest increase of any company on our list.

33. Microsoft Corp: $1.033 billion

Microsoft spent $667 million more than Apple on advertising and $740 million more than Dell.

32. Sony Corp: $1.041 billion

This Tokyo company spends $564 million

on television advertising.

31. Capital One Financial Corp: $1.043 billion

Capital One shelled out $280 million on television ads, part of which went to pay Jimmy Fallon and Alec Baldwin to appear in commercials.

30. Viacom: $1.06 billion

Viacom is the media conglomerate that houses MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, TV Land, and Paramount Pictures. Paramount's highest-grossing movie of 2011 was Trans-formers: Dark of the Moon.

29. Kohl's Corp: $1.12 billion

This clothing retailer exclusively sells the clothing lines of Jennifer Lopez, Daisy Fuentes and Lauren Conrad, and is contractually obliged to promote them.

28. Honda Motor Co: $1.14 billion

Honda ran a Super Bowl ad for its CR-V featuring Matthew Broderick, which cost the company about $3.5 million.

27. J.C. Penney: $1.16 billion

This Texas-based retailer spent 11.9 per cent less on advertising than last year.

26. News Corp: $1.27 billion

This media company spent $81.7 million on radio ads, making it one of the highest radio advertisers on our list.

25. Unilever: $1.3 billion

Unilever's brands include Ben & Jerry's, Dove, Lipton, and Tresemmé. Dove's more recent ad campaigns have focused on portraying realistic-looking women, not just model-types.

24. McDonald's Corp: $1.37 billion

After Time Warner, McDonald's spends more on outdoor ads (billboards) than any other company on our list, shelling out $71.6 million.

23. Berkshire Hathaway: $1.39 billion

Warren Buffet's company, which owns Geico, spent $680 million on television ads.

22. Sprint Nextel Corp: $1.4 billion

This telecommunications company is the only one on our list that didn't alter their ad budget from the previous year.

21. Anheuser-Busch InBev: $1.42 billion

This beverage company spent $3 million on newspaper ads, the lowest amount of any company on our list.

20. Macy's: $1.51 billion

This Cincinnati-based retailer gets co-op ad money from more than 1000 of its retailers.

19. Target: $1.62 billion

This year, Target started airing Christmas ads on October 11, making it the first retailer to advertise for the upcoming holiday.

18. Sears: $1.69 billion

Sears Holding Corp, comprised of Sears and Kmart, exclusively promotes Sofia Vergara's line of clothing and home goods.

17. Bank of America Corp: $1.7 billion

Bank of America increased its ad spending by 9.8 per cent from last year.

16. Toyota Motor Corp: $1.73 billion

Toyota spent $767 million of its massive ad budget on television.

15. Fiat (Chrysler Group): $1.771 million

Fiat increased its ad budget a whopping 52.1 per cent from last year.

14. Walmart Stores: $1.89 billion

Walmart's most recent ad campaign shows real customers' excited reactions when they compare their Walmart receipt to their receipt from another store.

13. Johnson & Johnson: $1.94 billion

Behind Procter & Gamble, this company spends $248 million on magazine ads – more than any other company on our list.

12. Time Warner: $2.051 billion

Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros, is one of the top 10 spenders on Super Bowl ads, according to CNBC. From 2002-2011, it spent $39.2 million to air commercials during the big game.

11. Pfizer: $2.072 billion

According to The New York Times, advertising for brand-name drugs on TV has gone down more than 20 per cent in the past five years. Despite the decrease, Pfizer still spent nearly $850 million on TV commercials.

10. Walt Disney Co: $2.112 billion

Disney's ad spending went up 9.3 per cent from last year. It will be interesting to see what happens now that the media giant has acquired Lucasfilm.

9. L'Oréal: $2.124 billion

This French beauty retailer spent a staggering $709 million on magazine ads alone.

8. American Express Co: $2.125 billion

AmEx won the 2011 Grand CLIO Award for Content & Contact as well as the Special Recognition Award for Facebook Integrated Media for their "Small Business Saturday" campaign.

7. Ford Motor Co: $2.14 billion

Earlier this year, Ford said it planned to increase its ad spending on Facebook, while General Motors said it planned to slash its Facebook budget.

6. JPMorgan Chase & Co: $2.35 billion

This finance company increased its ad spending by 22.3 per cent since last year.

5. AT&T: $2.36 billion

Most companies on our list increased their ad budgets last year, but AT&T decreased its budget by 21 per cent.

4. Comcast Corp: $2.47 billion

Comcast became the largest US media company after it acquired NBC Universal in 2011. It spent a large amount of its budget on movie ads and the Xfinity brand.

3. Verizon Communications: $2.52 billion

Verizon spent almost half of its budget on television campaigns.

2. General Motors Co: $3.1 billion

GM cut its $10 million Facebook ad budget just before Facebook's first public stock offering earlier this year.

1. Procter & Gamble Co: $4.9 billion

P&G spent almost $2 billion on TV ads alone. It is the planet's biggest advertiser, and spends $10 billion on ads throughout the world every year.

Business Insider

This article The billionaires' club was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.