STAMFORD, Connecticut: Spending on political advertising and marketing in the US will increase by 43% to a record $4.5 billion (€3.1bn; £2.2bn) in 2008, fuelled by the upcoming presidential election, according to figures released by research specialists PQ Media.

The presidential contest is forecast to swallow some $1.67bn (or 37%), with candidates for the Senate spending just over half that figure, and their counterparts in the House of Representatives some 21% of the total (the 11 gubernatorial elections in 2008, by contrast, will take 4%, and local spending the remaining 18%).

Media advertising is expected to take just over $3bn (or 67.2%) in all, with marketing services such as direct mail, PR and event marketing receiving $1.5bn or so (32.8% in all).

Broadcast TV is predicted to take over half the media spend, and enjoy a 46% improvement on its performance two years ago as a result. Cable TV is also expected to post a large lift in spend as it is seen as the key medium to reach voters in a number of different states.

PQ's report also states that a range of marketing services will increase in prominence as candidates seek to diversify their strategies.

As such, direct mail is forecast to enjoy an upswing of over 50%, with spending through the medium reaching $1bn for the first time. Online is expected to post growth of 84% on 2006 levels, with PR, promotions and event marketing also predicted to grow by 56%.

Says PQ ceo Patrick Quinn: "A key trend driving growth is that this is the first election since 1928 without a current member of the executive branch running for office, which has resulted in an unusually high number of presidential candidates participating in the primary season, as well as a discordant political landscape on several fronts."

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff