The November 6 election will unleash a hurricane of political advertising that is unprecedented in American history. With more than $350 million having already been spent in only nine states, the 2012 political spend is projected to exceed $4 billion – some are now saying it may go past the $5 billion mark!
In the past, the infusion of political advertising expenditures has caused rates to rise and schedule-availability to tighten. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling popularly known as Citizens United and the unleashing of corporate and PAC spending, the airways are going to be filled with commercials promoting candidates from both political parties.
This level of spending has never been seen before, and we know that it will have great impact on retailers’ advertising campaigns airing in the last quarter of 2012. If a large percentage of retail advertising is pre-empted during the lead up to the election, it will cause extreme pressure on inventory, raise prices dramatically, and cause tightening inventory even in November and December after the election.
So, how does a retailer effectively navigate his or her advertising campaign during this period? What methods can be employed in this heated environment that comes right smack in the middle of the holiday shopping season?
We asked Barbara Goldstein, executive vice president of Media Power Advertising, a professional media-buying group that specializes in retail ad placement, to offer insight into effective media buying strategies during this 2012 political campaign.
Media Placement Tips
Ms. Goldstein’s tips include:
• Look for sponsorship possibilities that will get you mentioned inside the broadcast news programming, particularly early morning and noon news, where stations have more flexibility.
• Use the broadcasters’ websites to run pre-roll or expandable ad videos to reach their audience in a different method.
• Media such as outdoor billboards, newspapers and local magazines are good alternatives. These media have locked down pricing and you will not have to worry about being bumped.
• With increased web activity focused on political activities, now would be a good time to increase your pay-per-click campaigns and banner advertising.
• Clean up your e-mail addresses and send e-blasts to your prospect and client lists.
• Many of our clients are focusing on guerilla marketing techniques, such as setting up open houses and speaking at club meetings, to build closer relationships with consumers.
• January 2013 schedules will open up. Ask yourself if you should shift your advertising spend and plan a more aggressive promotional campaign in the first quarter of next year.
• Cable TV is experiencing the same political demands this election year as broadcast TV. However, in many markets your cable system will sell advertising into satellite companies such as AT&T Uverse and DirecTV. These outlets are less expensive and will offer better availability.
• Talk to your station reps and continue to build good relationships. Some broadcast stations have digital channels that they operate as independent stations or news channels. Viewing is very fragmented on these digital platform stations; however, rates are also usually low, ranging between $10-$50 for a 30-second spot.
The airwaves are humming with incessant political positioning on the local, state and national levels. Keep in mind that most people don’t pay attention to political ads until 14 days prior to the election. This is the key window where swing voters can be most heavily influenced.
So, retailers, if you haven’t already started planning, do it now – a political advertising storm, the likes of which has never been seen before, is about to be unleashed! Are you ready?
Ed Borowsky is CEO of Monarch Advertising.
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