Crisp brand Walkers tops the poll with a run of national newspaper stories about former England football captain Gary Lineker in drag, and the recruitment of Danish supermodel Helena Christensen and singer Victoria Beckham.
'The first quarter of this year has seen a sharp increase in the number of PR-generated news stories about advertising, which can be attributed to the increased use of celebrities,' said Propeller director Nick Fitzherbert.
'The intensity of inter-brand rivalry is notable,' he added. 'David Beckham is also being pitched directly against his wife for Golden Wonder ads.'
The Manchester United star is ranked number two in the listing - alongside fellow-Pepsi recruits Britney Spears and Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates. England football boss Sven Goran Eriksson's Sainsbury partnership with Jamie Oliver was ranked third.
Former England cricketer Graham Gooch sustained his celebrity presence at number four in the survey following a welter of publicity concerning complaints against an Advanced Hair Studio ad in which he appeared.
The Inland Revenue's 'Mrs Doyle' tax return campaign ranked number five - and was voted by newspaper readers as 'the most irritating advert of the year'.