The United States Government is, inevitably, one of the country's biggest advertisers, although its actual expenditure is significantly lower than that of leading commercial companies. In 2017, for example, the US Government was ranked #46 by advertising expenditure, well below the likes of General Motors, Procter & Gamble, McDonalds or Amazon. In this the US varies from many other countries, for example the UK, where the Government has until recently been among the top five advertisers. However the reason is that much public service advertising in the US is privately funded by independent non-profit associations and foundations and produced and distributed "pro bono" - in other words for no cost or fee - by advertising agencies and media companies. Much of this latter work is coordinated by The Ad Council, a body custom-built for exactly that purpose at the beginning of World War II. Lisa Sherman is CEO. In 2019, the Ad Council launched its own inhouse strategic consultancy, Edge, to offer research, strategy development and training to nonprofits, foundations and corporations. Most government departments coordinate their own marketing independently of one another. However, the labyrinthine bureaucratic process has led to several high-profile rows with agencies over spending levels. One of the most contentious has been the US Army's marketing budget, which was the subject of a long row with Leo Burnett in the early 2000s, and then again with McCann in the 2010s. Military departments generally are the most consistent high spenders, primarily for recruitment, along with Health & Human Services.
Capsule checked 18th June 2019
Which agencies handle advertising for the US Government and The Ad Council? Find out more from Adbrands Account Assignments.
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