TV Paid Ads More Important In No-Rally Presidential Election Year

With the prospect of few-to-no live political events, TV and digital media advertising could mean lots more to presidential and other political campaigns this year.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign intends to spend $280 million in advertising across 15 states this fall. For its part, the Trump campaign has committed -- so far -- to more than $145 million in TV and radio ads starting after Labor Day, according to Advertising Analytics.

Those dollars will need to go a long way to carrying marketing messaging. Political rallies, carried on TV networks in part or whole -- so-called “earned media,” which adds to marketing awareness -- will now have a much smaller effect. That isn’t good news for Trump, who counts on this to produce real-life excitement for his supporters -- especially as his approval numbers remain weak.



Add to this reduced on-the-ground, door-to-door campaigning and get-out-the-vote efforts, and this means a big shift in this year’s elections.

In the past, this direct-marketing stuff, typically ramping up the fall, started with the two big parties' national conventions in summer. Now, both are cancelled.

That said, Trump continues to have his key direct media areas for exposure -- including, but not exclusively, Fox News Channel and Twitter.

One big question mark remains: the debates. 

In the past, those aired TV events have had a studio audience with live TV anchors and reporters asking questions -- also getting major TV viewer Nielsen numbers. Some analysts wonder whether Biden, who currently has a sizable lead in many key states and overall, might just decline to participate.

Even with more potential advertising coming their way, TV stations might feel some pressure to accommodate a bigger and rapidly changing presidential advertising campaign.

Collateral damage might also include higher preemptions for core TV advertiser that buy local TV advertising time.

The end game here is how paid-advertising media planning, in targeting key viewers/voters in specific states, will change on all media channels -- TV, digital, radio, and otherwise -- in the next 90 days.

And, of course, consider the less predictable stuff: Bad media-buying actors are still lurking around -- on social media and other places -- looking to put their foot on the scale. 

Next story loading loading..