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Despite a difficult year for auto companies and more stringent restrictions for online drug marketing, the automotive and pharmaceutical product categories saw the highest levels of ad spending in various media through Q309, according to a recently released “top 10” list from The Nielsen Company.

Nielsen reported that more than $5.4 billion was spent on automotive advertising through September of 2009. For pharmaceuticals, ad spend topped $3.2 billion. The quick-service restaurants ($3.1 billion), wireless telecom ($2.5 billion) and department-store ($2.5 billion) categories rounded out the top five.

The top to list of product categories by ad spending:


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