The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) has issued an advisory bulletin to members with some tips for dealing with the chaos that lies ahead on the airwaves, due to the expected tsunami of political ads as the election nears.
Two years ago during the fall election season, political ads accounted for up to 70% of the prime-time inventory of some TV stations. This year, with so-called “SuperPACs” raising unregulated amounts of political donations -- and with both presidential candidates foregoing federal funds for campaigning (and thus avoiding caps on their spending) -- estimates are there will be a record $9 billion in political ad spending.
Thus, the clutter of political ads on the airwaves is only expected to get worse, making it more of a challenge than usual for brand advertisers to get their own messages on the tube during election season.
High on the list of suggestions from the 4As: Advise clients to avoid news time periods to the extent possible. “While all dayparts will likely see political/issue advertising, it’s best for an advertiser to spread the wealth to lessen the impact of pre-emptions on any one daypart, especially news areas."
Agencies should also advise clients to be more flexible in terms of spot placements, the trade association adds. Indeed, clients may not have a choice, given the fact that stations are required by law to give politicians priority during certain windows leading up to elections.
Stations can pre-empt the ads of any traditional clients to make room for the politicians. Because they’re so prolific, it’s likely that consumer packaged goods ads will be especially vulnerable to preemption, while “time-sensitive accounts will need to pay a lot more to stay in the market.
"Think ahead to allow greater flexibility with substitutions, upgrades and make goods,” the 4As states in its advisory. “A tiered list of options approved by a client upfront is a good start to allow a buyer space to navigate the marketplace.”