November 30, 2004
November 01, 2004
Record $600 Million Spent on Ads
Candidates and outside organizations combined to spend more than $600 million on television and radio ads, triple the amount spent four years ago, the AP reports.
"Since March, Kerry and the Democratic Party have poured about $250 million into TV and radio ads, compared with about $240 for Bush and the Republican National Committee."
"Democrats have even more of an edge when spending by outside groups is included. Liberal organizations bought about $70 million worth of airtime, outpacing the $40 million or so spent by conservative organizations."
"'The story this whole year has been the sheer volume of ads,' said Evan Tracey, president of TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group. 'This is an election that I think changes politics.'"
Bush, Kerry Soars to $60 Million in Last Week
The New York Times reports the two candidates will spend $60 million in the final week of the race -- "fully one-quarter of all advertising spending in the entire 2000 campaign."
October 28, 2004
The Land of Voiceover
The Washington Post profiles the voices behind the ads.
Betsy Ames sipped a cup of water one afternoon this week, then ripped into the senior U.S. senator from South Dakota.
"What's happened to Tom Daschle?" Ames asked, her hushed, honey-smooth voice a blend of sadness and contained outrage.
She stood in her Alexandria apartment, in a hallway closet, speaking into a microphone that was perched on a decorative Romanesque column, next to an umbrella that leaned in the corner.
"Tom Daschle has changed," Ames said. "And it's time for South Dakota voters to make a change of their own."
Ames has never met Daschle. Nor has she been to South Dakota.
Not a problem....
October 19, 2004
Kerry Campaign Creating "Phantom Ads"
"Some of the Kerry commercials are being written, edited, produced and put on satellites for the purpose of generating news articles. They have not actually aired on any network or local station -- except in reports about the Democrat's campaign," Howard Kurtz reports in the Washington Post.
"Since Sept. 1, the Kerry camp has released and publicized more than half a dozen commercials, on subjects ranging from taxes to health care to the war in Iraq, without buying time for them, either nationally or in battleground states. Others have run in only one or two markets after being unveiled with considerable fanfare. In effect, these have been video news releases purporting to be substantial paid advertising."
Mark McKinnon, Bush's media adviser, said the president's campaign has never announced an ad that has not run.
LAT: Ad Spending Soars as Messages Turn Shrill
"The major presidential candidates, parties and interest groups are well on their way to surpassing $500 million in television advertising spending by election day -- smashing the record of four years ago [$200 million] ," the Los Angeles Times writes, citing a report by the TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group.
"Monday's report, examining ad placement from Oct. 10 through Saturday, contradicted the notion that the electoral battlefield was shrinking to as few as eight states. Bush and Kerry were still jousting fiercely for states like New Hampshire, West Virginia, Maine and Oregon, which some political observers had thought were edging onto the periphery of the final election showdown. Those states account for 20 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win."
October 13, 2004
NRA to Spend $20M to Reelect Bush
The National Rifle Association is promising a $20 million effort to reelect Bush, including millions of dollars for ads, according the the AP.
"The gun-rights group's political action committee has already spent roughly $1 million on TV and other advertising opposing Kerry."
Swift Boat Group Prepares Final Ads; $14 million buy
The first spot features 90 swift boat veterans standing in a three-deep row as an announcer explains that they are "his entire chain of command" and were "tortured for refusing to confess what John Kerry accused them of. . . of being war criminals."
A second spot shows a group of about 10 posing questions to Kerry about his service. "How can you expect our sons and daughters to follow you, when you condemned their fathers and grandfathers," one asks.
NRO reports SBVfT has made a $14 million buy.
CNN Tool to Track Ad Spending
|CNN has posted the latest breakdown of the presidential campaign's ad spending in an interactive graphic. The graphic breaks down the spending between the two candidates and their respective interest groups.
CNN has been updating the graphic with new data each week.
Ad Battleground Shrinks to Ten States
The battleground for television advertising has narrowed to just 10 markets, according to the latest data from the the Nielsen Monitor-Plus and the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.
According to its study [PDF], which looked at the period of September 24 to October 7, the top 50 media markets that saw the most political advertising are in these 14 states: Florida (27 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (7), Oregon (7), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), West Virginia (5), Maine (4), and New Hampshire (4).
"The need for campaigns to focus their finite advertising budgets on the few states still in contention has therefore left over 70 percent of potential voters largely or completely out of the main way that presidential campaigns are communicating their message," the study found.
- Only 27 percent of ads since Labor Day were purely positive.
- Breaking this down:
Bush: (Attack: 30%) (Contrast: 34%) (Positive: 36%)
Kerry: (Attack: 0%) (Contrast: 84%) (Positive: 16%)
- The Democrat's ads have covered more issues
- Kerry has concentrated on health care and the Iraq War
- The Bush campaign and its allies have explicitly mentioned the 9/11 attacks in 17% of spots.
October 12, 2004
WSJ: Campaigns Target the Opposition With "Pre-Buttal" Ads
"With many states up for grabs, candidates and their allies are using tailored broadcast ads [also called "tracking" or "pre-buttal" ads]," the Wall Street Journal reports. "These spots, an advertising innovation this election, are prepared for specific markets and run around the time the opposing candidate makes a campaign appearance. Tracking ads are cheaper and easier to produce than national ads, but can be just as effective."
According to the WSJ, a Bush tracking ad eventually led to Sen. Kerry's now-infamous line "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Kerry, meanwhile, produced several ads that "shadowed" the President after the GOP convention.
Such ads have also been used to generate news coverage.
October 11, 2004
WP: 527s Plan 'Shock And Awe' In Final Push
The Washington Post reports that 527s on both sides of the aisle are readying for a dramatic final push in the month before the elections.
On the Republican side, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has raised more than $13 million and is planning one final ad featuring Vietnam veterans criticizing Kerry's military service and honesty. The Progress for America Voter Fund has raised more than $30 million. One of its ads suggests Kerry can’t defend against terrorists “who want to kill us.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also recently reported that the group has laid down nearly $2 million for the final month in Wisconsin alone.
Meanwhile, the Democratic aligned Media Fund is set to blast through its remaining $6.5 million bank account to air a single spot tying Bush to the Saudis.
October 08, 2004
Kerry's Ads Finally Hitting the Right Theme?
William Saletan writes in Slate's latest damned spot column that the Kerry campaign is finally settling on a single angle of attack against Bush: his "unwillingness to face facts."
Citing Kerry's latest "You Saw" spot, Saletan writes that the images of voters watching the debates from their couches (which we called meaningless) allowed Kerry to essentially say "you saw me with your own eyes -- so when Bush tells you I'm something else, you know his spin doesn't match reality."
As typical to the Slate feature, Jacob Weisberg responds. "We're on the same page about what Kerry's anti-Bush message should be [but] unfortunately, the ads don't reflect anything like the kind of message clarity you've been hoping for."
October 05, 2004
Kerry and Democrats Binge on Web Ads After Debate
"The presidential campaigns and the major political parties have mostly ignored on line advertising as a way to reach voters in the 2004 election, according to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That is, until now," Wired reports.
"After Thursday night's debate between Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush, the Democratic National Committee bought roughly $400,000 worth of ads on 50 sites, including USA Today, The Washington Post, MSNBC, The New York Times, Salon.com, Weather.com, ESPN.com and Movieline.com. The DNC also bought ads on local news sites. In a few days, it almost doubled its entire online advertising budget for the previous eight months."
The DNC said its ads on national websites "had a staggeringly high click-through rate of 5 percent." They were online within minutes of the debate's conclusion.
September 29, 2004
The Hill: "The House Air War is On"
"With just 34 days to go before Election Day, House Republicans are on the air with advertisements in 24 of the 25 most competitive races, compared with 19 Democrats who have hit the airwaves," The Hill reports.
"While the overall air war looks pretty even, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) are not going head to head in every race."
Anti-Musgrave (CO-R) Ads Called 'Over the Top'
A group calling itself Colorado Families First is airing two ads feature an actress portraying Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) stealing money from the wallet of soldier in Iraq and the watch of a dead man, the Rocky Mountain News reports.
"Political science professors observing the race warn that the ads may be so over the top that they harm Musgrave's Democratic opponent, Stan Matsunaka," the paper reports.
The ads say Musgrave voted against a $1,500 bonus for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan ("That's just cheap") and allowing nursing homes to keep billing their patients "even after they're dead."
We've opened a new section, titled Whitehouse.Commercials to provide brief blurbs about any presidential ads in the race. This, we think, will allow us to provide an overview of all the ads being aired, but still make it possible to concentrate only the most newsworthy spots.
As always, you may find these postings on the right-hand side of Daisies [rss], or at their own sites. They all have their own RSS feeds as well.
- Whitehouse.Commercials: Presidential ad log. [rss]
- Ad Watch Wire: Ad watches from AP, Factcheck.org, Los Angels Times, USA Today and the Washington Post. [rss]
- Armchair Quarterbacks: Featured quotes from around the web. [rss]
- Outside the Beltway: Ads from congressional and other major races around the country. [rss]
September 28, 2004
Ad Wars Turning Personal
Kerry and Bush are airing increasingly personal attacks on one another in the run-up to Thursday's debate, Howard Kurtz writes today in the Washington Post.
"he escalating exchanges mark an increasingly personal debate before Thursday's first presidential debate, which will be devoted to foreign policy," Kurtz writes. "In an airwaves battle that erupted over the weekend, an independent conservative group stamped Kerry as weak on terrorists such as bin Laden while the senator accused the Bush campaign of "un-American" tactics."
Kerry Ramps Up Ads Pre-Debates
"The Kerry campaign is stepping up its advertising ahead of the Thursday's presidential debate," AP writes
"Voters in 14 states will be promised "a new direction" from the Kerry-Edwards ticket when it comes to Iraq. This new Democratic advertising round also tries to paint President Bush as out of touch with the reality of soldier casualties, kidnappings and beheadings."
September 24, 2004
Kerry , DNC to Run Joint Ads
"Following the lead of President Bush's political team, John Kerry's presidential campaign will launch a new television ad Saturday that broadly refers to his party's agenda and gives him access to as much Democratic National Committee money as he wants," AP reports.