Election Year Tightens Ad Inventory, Demands Nimble Strategy

Elephant-DonkeyAs if marketers didn’t have enough to worry about in 2012, with troubling signs that the economy will remain less than robust, they will also have politicians and their war chests interfering with planned media campaigns for the coming year.

That’s the word from MediaVest, which has issued new research to clients predicting that ad inventory during the upcoming political year will be tighter than ever, given the record dollars that politicians will raise and spend next year in their bids to get elected.

The research was generated from the agency’s Civic Observatory unit, an ongoing tracking study that draws on a pool of 1,500 consumer respondents.

The biggest crunch will come at the local level. In 2008, roughly 85% of measured media advertising placed for the November general election was in local TV, where political ads take precedence over those from regular marketers.



The Publicis media shop estimates that political spending next year will be up roughly 30% from four years earlier and could reach $4 billion. Plus, it’s not just the local TV airwaves that will be jammed, per the MediaVest research. “Increased fundraising in 2012 will drive broader tactical use of more media,” the agency reports. “It will impact marketers across all categories."

The agency also projects that political campaigns and outside interest groups, with their fatter wallets, will spend more broadly across national broadcast and cable television and digital satellite services.

It’s also clear that there will be broader use of social media, which the Obama campaign used to great effect in 2008. “In fact, the elections in 2012 could be won or lost on the success of get-out-the-vote efforts being led by social media,” the agency asserted.

Next year, the political noise will be loud at all levels. With 435 congressional elections, 33 senate races, 11 gubernatorial contests and countless other state and local races joining the presidential contenders, the battle for voter attention will be intense.

Much like politicians, marketers are going to have to adjust their media strategies on the fly.

“Marketers must be prepared for in-flight changes as strategic moves from politicians can play a big role in ad markets,” per the MediaVest research. Shifts in both public opinion and fund-raising abilities during campaigns “converge to expand or restrict a candidate’s reach. If politicians move out of a market pricing for marketers may improve as a result. The opposite is also true.”

Advertisers that can predict where such shifts will occur will have a leg up on the rest of the marketplace, MediaVest stated. While it’s hard to know with certainty when and where such changes will occur, agencies can guide clients on where such fluctuations are likely to occur and how to predict them.

There is ample competitive activity to monitor. The MediaVest research forecasts tight races and higher-than-normal spending in nearly half (23) of the states next year, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan.

1 comment about "Election Year Tightens Ad Inventory, Demands Nimble Strategy".
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  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, December 23, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.

    What a Disgrace! $4,000,000,000 could be used to create jobs that would put people back to work and put roofs over their heads, food on their tables and clothes on their backs. It would also generate morte revinue to pay off our crushing debts.

    Instead this money will be SQUANDERED by Politicions who will SLANDER each other on the airwaves.

    Thank Heaven for CDs and DVDs!

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