Political Ad Tracker: Frontline Intel From A Battleground State

Most media buyers are counting the days to the 2012 election. But it's got nothing to do with casting their vote to help determine the next President of the United States.

Thanks in large part to excessive Super PAC spending, the 2012 elections will see paid media spending reach as high as $9 billion across all media channels. In fact, there was more money to spend than the traditional election ad season could handle. As a result, battleground states have been seeing ads since May -- two months earlier than usual.

At its peak, more than 80% of October’s TV ads are predicted to be election-oriented. This election season has media buyers in a constant state of alert. Regardless of which state, local broadcast buyers are often forced to revisit their clients' best-laid plans as their ads get preempted by political ads that pay an excessive amount for their clients’ spots.



How Can Brands Prepare?

We're advising clients to move to less saturated channels, or programming targeted less by political ads, during the election ad season. But some brands see this season as an opportunity to stand out in contrast to consumer media's political cacophony. In this instance, shifting the focus from spots to integration is key.

Working with media partners on working the brand into features or other programming will help distinguish brands from the seemingly constant stream of political ads.The key is to be flexible, fast and creative. Whether or not a brand’s media spend is scheduled in a battleground state, it's safe to assume plans may be pre-empted between now and November 6th. By being prepared to make quick and creative decisions, new opportunities can be created for the brands.

More MediaPost Election 2012 Coverage

Empower MediaMarketing's political ad spend analysts are excited to provide MediaPost readers with our view of media planning and buying during the election. We’ve been a Cincinnati-based media agency since Reagan’s second term in office. From our position in one of the most hotly contested battleground states, we’ll look at how Election 2012 ads can impact marketers, and how to best navigate this impact. Between now and November 6th, we'll track markets nationwide, focusing on battleground states like our own.

It's a fast-changing landscape. But we're interested in how the $9 billion is being spent, how media in the battleground states compares to other states, why election spending is so much higher than in previous elections and how spending has shifted since the last election. We'll bring you more front-line intelligence in the coming weeks.

Until then, prepare for the election ad blitz to get much worse before it gets better.

Heather Watson and Sue Inkrot contributed to this commentary.

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