Fourteen (14) pharmaceutical companies made it into AdAge’s 2009 list of Top 100 National Advertisers (based on 2008 ad spending data). They are, in descending order of total ad spending:

  1. Johnson & Johnson
  2. GlaxoSmithKline
  3. Pfizer
  4. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
  5. Eli Lilly & Co.
  6. Bayer
  7. Schering-Plough Corp.
  8. Merck & Co.
  9. Wyeth
  10. AstraZeneca
  11. Novartis
  12. Boehringer Ingelheim
  13. Abbott Laboratories
  14. Sanofi-Aventis

The list is based on “measured media” spending across 19 media and includes estimates of “unmeasured media,” which includes direct marketing, product placement, and most notably, paid Internet search, which some analysts estimate is about 40% of the total Internet ad spend of companies in general.

NOTE: P&G, which is primarily a packaged goods company and one of the biggest ad spenders in the US, is not included on this list even though it may market a few pharma products. It was also not included in last year’s analysis (see “Marketing Mix of Leading Pharma Advertisers“).

The total spend for these 14 pharma companies in 2008 was $6,993,000,000 measured vs. an estimated $5,697,500,000 unmeasured. That represents 12.4% of the total spending in 2008 of the entire group of AdAge’s TOP 100 National Advertisers. NOTE: Not all of this represents direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. Magazines, for example, include B-2-B publications (ie, medical journals focused on physicians).

I plotted the media mix for pharma advertisers vs. non-pharma companies in the list and came up with this (click on the image for a larger view):

Compare this to last year’s data (see “Marketing Mix of Leading Pharma Advertisers“) and weep:

Internet display ad spending still represents a very small portion of pharma’s measured media spending (2.4% in 2008 vs. 3.1% in 2007). Non-pharma companies allocate twice as much of their budgets to the Internet than do pharma companies.

Two pharma companies — Abbott and AstraZeneca — stand out from the pack in terms of the percent of their budgets allocated to Internet advertising in 2008 (see figure below; click for an enlarged view).