While the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention was a fairly consistent presence over the airwaves throughout much of 2020, only once last year—March 22—was it ever present among the top 10 national advertisers. Perhaps indicative of newly installed President Biden’s insistence on making science a focus of COVID-19 initiatives, the government agency rings the bell this week as the No. 1 advertiser at radio.
CDC—which entered the top 10 again three weeks ago, at No. 5; then rose to No. 3 last week—placed a whopping 62,815 ads on stations in the top 110 markets tracked by Media Monitors, for the week of Jan. 18-24. That’s 1,998 more spots than the No. 2 advertiser, The Home Depot, with 60,817 ads, and 4,386 more on-air mentions than last week’s No. 1 advertiser, Babbel, which placed 58,429 ads to rank No. 3 for this week.
As Inside Radio reported Jan. 20, the U.S. Government was the No. 1 parent company for radio advertising in all of 2020—as well as in 2019—based on spot volume. Federal agencies aired 5.9 million commercials last year, led by a major push from the Census Bureau. While the Census count has wrapped, there are no fewer than six Government Agency/Unions in the Jan. 24 top 100: California Dept. of Health Care Services (No. 46), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (No. 47), Army National Guard (No. 57), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (No. 76) and Florida Dept. of Health (No. 94).
While Insurance Providers maintain their typical role as the leading category overall, commandeering eight positions (including two in the top 10, with No. 4 Progressive and No. 10 GEICO), Fast Casual-Quick Service Restaurants, long a major radio ad category, claim five positions (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Dunkin’, Panera Bread), while the related Food & Beverage category adds another three (Kroger, Frank’s RedHot, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar). Wireless & Internet Services grab two positions (iHeartRadio, Audible); while the sister Wireless Carrier category adds three more (T-Mobile, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile); and three Telecom Bundled services are within the compilation (Spectrum International Wireless, Spectrum Business, Comcast Business).
You’ll find four Cleaning & Household Products on the Jan. 24 tally, all owned by consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble (Swiffer, Bounty, Microban, Tide), as well as P&G’s Crest, Vicks, ZzzQuil, Olay Body Wash and Charmin, for a commanding nine products whose wares are being aired.
For Jan. 24, 2021, the top 10 on the Media Monitors list are: CDC at 1, The Home Depot at 2, Babbel at 3, Progressive at 4, iHeartRadio at 5, Bank of America at 6, Bristol Myers Squibb-Pfizer at 7, This is Important at 8, Indeed at 9 and GEICO at 10.