Heavy Olympic and political advertising in the third quarter contributed to substantial growth. But overall, 2012 growth is still pegged at only a slight improvement.
Nielsen says advertising spending in the U.S. for the third quarter of 2012 was up 7% versus the third quarter of 2011.
Big growth came from automotive spending, a gain of 26% to $2.7 billion with auto dealerships up 22% to $1.0 billion. Nielsen says year-end promotions traditionally make the third quarter the biggest of the year, based on ad sales. It also notes that six of the top 20 companies in terms of advertising spending were auto manufacturers.
Restaurants -- which include the quick-service restaurants -- also were up strongly, 14% to $1.0 billion. After this group came telecommunications companies, growing 15% to $887 million.
This four categories made up for losses from other major ad categories. Movie companies were 12% lower to $690 million, with pharmaceuticals off 22% at $662 million.
Although the third quarter is strong, many overall U.S. advertising forecasts for 2012 are only estimating modest growth at best. For example, Kantar is currently forecasting 2.2% growth to around $147 billion in 2012.
Nielsen says the quarterly report includes ad spend across 17 media categories, including television, magazine, newspaper, radio, outdoor, free-standing insert coupon and national Internet.