Boom in Election Ads in 2012


Barack Obama and Romney campaigns in the US presidential elections almost spent a combined $1 billion on advertising. The festival held every two years once on advertising that follows presidential and midterm elections reached a real crescendo this year.

By some estimates total outlay ends up closer to $6 bn including congressional campaigns and other election- season spending. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, more than a million television ads have been aired this election cycle, a full 39% more than in 2008.

As the boom in TV ads is indicative of lack of a corresponding boom online, onlookers have been predicting big shifts in campaign spending since at least the 2004 cycle. But in 2012, like 2008, television remained king. The reason for this more than the happening of digital migration.

David Bank, a managing director of equity research at RBC Capital Markets told “It hasn’t quite played out that way, and if anything, the spending has been remarkable for how unremarkable its been.” The reason for this could be that campaigns have focused on Facebook – 1.32% and Twitter buzz instead of paid advertising. Mr. Bank also said that TV remains simply better platform for advertising as well as it’s very difficult medium to substitute.

Analysts says that single digit advertising growth for some channel companies is largely thanks to the political windfall, and numbers stripped of political spending would be flat. About political advertising, the top lines of local station owners mainly focused on a local rather than the big national networks on national.

The TV onslaught has been less visible for the states residents because the Washington Post graphic shows how TV has been flooded with political advertising in just a handful of states, with others spared the worst of the deluge.

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