The two strongest performing categories were real estate (US$114 million) and finance (US$45 million), which increased 71 and 71.5 per cent, respectively.
Automobiles (US$39 million) grew 32.2 per cent, continuing growth initiated by a government tax break last year.
The only category in the top 10 to see a decline was computer and gizmo retailing which fell by 13.9 per cent to US$33 million.
Eliot Lin, CEO at McCann Erickson, said, "There is a general feeling that tomorrow will be better. But there isn't a single thing you can point at and call the driver."
The change is psychological said Alvin Tsui, CEO at United Communications Group.
"No one was spending on advertising these past few years, even though the economy wasn't that bad," said Tsui. "Clients held on to their advertising budgets and now they are spending again."
FMCG companies entered the fray as well. Proctor & Gamble, the island's largest advertiser, increased ad spend by 113.9 per cent to US$11 million.
Other big moves were seen by Quaker (80.9 per cent), Kao (30.9 per cent), Unilever (79.7 per cent), McDonald's (34.8 per cent) and Hawley & Hazel (70.5 per cent).
The increase in adspend was spread across all media, with double-digit gains across all categories.