It’s 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your presidential campaign TV ads are?


politicsADOTAS-Have you seen Obama or Romney presidential ads on TV?  If you live outside of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Florida, there’s a good chance you haven’t.

That’s because during the 2007-08 political campaign, more than $2.6 billion was spent on television advertising.  “The expenses for advertising slots are increasing, while the amount of available inventory is decreasing due to the competition.  This requires politicians to make the agonizing choices between promoting their campaign in areas that offer lower fees but reach a wide range of constituents versus placing the right ads in expensive areas,” said JT Hroncich, President of Capitol Media Solutions in his report Political Media Buying in 2012: Tactics, Expected Spending and Strategies.  He added, “It’s common for the advertising season to run anywhere from 10 to 20 weeks before ballots are cast.  To maximize advertising dollars, media buyers must make critical decisions about where to run ads and how frequently.”ause a majority of the ad dollars spent by both campaign parties have been funneled into these nine states critical to the election. With just over 90 days and counting until Election Day 2012, both parties are heavily saturating these states with television ads.  The Obama campaign has spent nearly $125 million total on broadcast and cable TV spots so far, while Team Romney and the Republican National Committee has spent $45 million.  Last week, it was reported that the Romney campaign purchased $8.2 million for a week of ad time beginning Wednesday, August 1st in eight states.  $1.6 million of that ad buy was spent in Ohio, where residents are seeing an approximately 87 presidential campaign spots week.

A majority of the Romney ads have been a direct attack on the Obama administration’s lack of effort in stimulating growth for the country’s distressed economy.  Obama ads have fired back at the Romney camp, attacking Romney’s alleged voting record during his term as Governor and raising tax fees, as well as referencing his time in the private business sector and asking ‘What’s he Hiding’ in reference to withholding his tax returns prior to 2010.

Obama’s ‘You Didn’t Build That’ snafu comment in Virginia a few weeks ago provided a gaping hole in the Obama campaign for the Romney camp to quickly capitalize upon.  Speaking to a group of voters, Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  The subsequent Romney campaign ad shows a Latino small business owner working hard and providing for his family, while Obama’s words are voiced over.  The ad ends with ‘Mr. President, We Built That.”

While it’s too early to tell the impact of the negative ads both parties have released focusing on the nation’s economy, it seems the economy itself is the biggest factor driving the election.  In a recent New York Times/CBS poll, 39% of respondents said they approved of President Obama’s handling of the economy, and 55% said they disapproved.  The approval rating is a marked decline from a similar poll released in April, when 44% said they approved and 48% disapproved.  In a USA Today/Gallup Poll of swing states, 1 in 12 respondents said seeing the commercials changed their minds about President Obama or Mitt Romney.

The first presidential campaign television spot aired in 1952 during the Eisenhower vs. Stevenson campaign (And, yes, Eisenhower won in Ohio.)  The entire history of presidential campaign television advertising can be seen at  Don’t miss the iconic ‘I Like Ike’ commercial, complete with cartoon elephants and donkeys and a really catchy jingle.


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