Political TV Ad Clutter Is Never-Ending

Record political advertising of $6 billion to $10 billion could be spent in 2020, according to estimates. But will it be effective -- due to continued TV ad skipping, social-media distrust in political advertising, or just mediocre creative?

President Trump's initial re-election campaign contains somewhat mild, vague and standard TV political messaging -- versus his highly charged/factually unchecked or confirmed presidential tweets.

President Trump's previous Super Bowl advertising talked up an improved economy and more jobs. Is that comforting to some? Misleading? Or just a yawn? Then, a Trump Super Bowl in-game ad on criminal-justice reform aired -- posting the worst-scoring rating for the game, according to the USA Today’s Ad Meter:  a 3.33 USA Today rating.

Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, who also bought time in the Super Bowl, discussed gun-control in his commercial. That did better, a 4.23 USA Today rating.



Bloomberg has already spent a massive $300 million in TV advertising. And it is only early February -- eight months before the election.

By contrast, the last time around, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump only started TV spending in September, two months before the election. Why? Because of earned media — high-profile TV debate appearances, free rally coverage and many charged social-media tweets.

This time around, the Trump campaign has raised a combined -- including outside groups -- $232.1 million, much of which could be used on paid advertising.

An added twist: Bloomberg's campaign is reportedly considering helping the Democratic candidate who gets the nomination with advertising, if Bloomberg doesn’t get the nod at the Democratic National Convention.

Increased political noise will make it a necessity to find straight-forward advertising messaging that voters can trust.

What then will be the engagement? Four years ago, Hillary Clinton is estimated to have spent more on advertising than Trump. Define your ROI right here.

Will traditional TV commercial skipping and digital media make regular political TV advertising of lesser value? And if so, what’s the future for TV political advertising in this messy environment?

Maybe there will be more business on non-commercial skipping OTT premium streaming video platforms. Oh wait, here is growing TV advertising fraud on OTT platforms.

Count on more political advertising chaos to come.

1 comment about "Political TV Ad Clutter Is Never-Ending".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 6, 2020 at 4:45 p.m.

    Wayne, the key issue is will these commercials resonate with truly independent voters or those who back the other candidate but might be swayed---or are they mainly fodder for those who already favor the candidate whose ad they are being exposed to? I would bet that 75-80% of those who are fully attentive to, say, a Trump commercial, will be dedicated red hats---just as many of the Fox News Channel's viewers are from the same group. Likewise, the opposite is probably true for Democrat candidate ads---mostly watched by Democrats. The true battle of the adsĀ  will depend on how well they target---in terms of positioning, approach and execution----the mindsets of those few whose minds may be changed. This will probably involve only 10-15% of the "audience". As for the rest, the ads will merely support their already ingrained beliefs.

    By the way, the same point appplies to many consumer product ads. Typically, the recall scores for current brand users are considerably higher than for non users----even though they too, use the product category. Most TV commercials for existing brands mainly reinforce the convictions of current fans as opposed to converting people to switch brands. Campaigns that are successful try to do both but many fail in this regard.

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