US Politicians Bank on Advertising

10 October 2008

NEW YORK: Cash. Moolah. Filthy lucre. For most marketers, it's in short supply. But not for the politicos competing in this year's US presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections, who collectively will spend a record amount on ads in 2008.

Maybe it can buy you love, after all.

TNS Media Intelligence estimates the various electoral battles taking place in the US this year will generate advertising revenues of some $2.5bn (€1.8bn; £1.4bn).

This total has actually been revised downward from a forecast of $3bn made earlier this year, but still looks set to surpass the $1.7bn spent in 2004.

The reasons for this revision include the competitive 2007 primary season – leading to more being spent last year than expected – and the fact that most tightly-fought regional contests are taking place in smaller states, rather than markets like California.

Media expected to benefit from an influx of ad dollars include network and cable TV, as well as local and cable radio stations, while spending appears to be slowing on local TV channels.

Evan Tracey, president of TNS's Campaign Media Analysis Group, said: "Network TV spending will set a record for [presidential] candidates' spending".

As John McCain accepted public funding for his White House bid, he must adhere to a spending cap, with TNS arguing this makes him more likely to focus his spending on network ads.

It is also thought that his Democrat rival, Barack Obama, has raised more money tha initially expected, with the Republicans underperforming.

Data sourced from Ad Week (US); additional content by WARC staff