Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Political Ads Scramble for TV Time, Winning Formula

The TV ad battles in the 2016 political race are heating up, reports The New York Times, and we haven't even reached the primaries. At the same time, candidates and their super PACs are still struggling to find a formula that will translate ad dollars into votes. In 2015, candidates and their allies already spent nearly $100 million on political advertising, including $72 million in Iowa and New Hampshire alone, Kantar Media/CMAG estimated for the NYT story. Now campaigns are feverishly grabbing for TV ad space ahead of the primaries, and negative attack ads are on the rise. “We’re getting down to the firing-squad part of the campaign,” Larry McCarthy, the strategist making ads for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, told the NYT. Yet the biggest spenders, such as the Bush PACs, have reaped only scant improvement in the polls for their efforts. Factors include a changed TV ad landscape thanks to media-master Donald Trump, who has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of free TV time from news coverage and debates, and a failure to break through with distinct content to the target audiences, say analysts. When Right to Rise (Bush PAC), New Day for America (Kasich PAC) and America Leads (Christie PAC), which spent an estimated $26.4 million combined in New Hampshire in 2015, all air an ad focused on Islamic terrorism, no one candidate stands out for voters. As candidates start to recast tactics and budgets (and Trump launches his first paid TV ads), 2015 TV spending is likely to be dwarfed, opined Ken Goldstein, a University of San Francisco professor of politics tracking advertising: “It seems like that was a bunch of money this fall, but that was just the sorbet before the main course. That wasn’t even the appetizer.” To see a current sampling of political TV ad messages, go to the NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/us/politics/ad-wars-of-2016-campaign-erupt-in-a-changing-tv-arena.html

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