3 Ways Your Local Media Campaign Can Avoid Political Advertising

Local Media Strategy

How to avoid higher rates and preemptions caused by the local media expenditures of political advertisers.

Politicians and their allies spent money in local media at a faster pace in 2012 than we have seen in the past 8 years, and spent record amounts of money on television alone.

The interesting thing about the 2012 election is not only the extreme amount of money spent on political advertising, but also how early in the year the money is being spent.  With millions of dollars being raised by both Obama and Romney, and the Supreme Court ruling in 2010 for protection of corporate and union funding of political advertising under the First Amendment, the stage has been set for an early spending spree that won’t let up until after the general election in November.

As an advertiser, what can you do to protect yourself from the extreme onslaught of political ads and the possibility of your ads being preempted, or at the least being “lost” in all the political clutter?

Here are some tips you might want to consider:

1.  Avoid key political windows

The political window for the general election is 60 days prior.  Political advertisers tend to use spot TV in local markets to capture the attention of a very general target, which leads to heavy, broad based consumption of television inventory.

With politicians buying up all the inventory, that leads to extreme rate increases and heavy preemptions of existing schedules.  If you can’t avoid political windows, at least avoid “news” dayparts that are highly sought after by political candidates.

2.   Buy early and lock in schedules

The earlier you can place your schedules, the better rate you will be able to negotiate, and the more protected you will be from preemptions.  That being said, even annual local media campaigns are not protected from political preemptions when markets are being hit by excessive political advertising.

In 2012, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia received a majority of the local advertising budget.  And, the amount of political dollars being spent OUTSIDE the political window has been 3x what was expected in key markets.  With those kinds of dollars being dropped in a market, even loyal annual advertisers can’t keep their spots running.

3.  Look for alternatives

Consider moving dollars to other mediums.  Cable TV has a greater inventory volume and offers an easy option from broadcast TV.   Digital should also be a consideration, with a large amount of available inventory and the ability to geo-target.  Avoiding news/talk stations on radio will keep radio as an option, which is less impacted by rate increases and schedule disruptions.  And, print is always an option, which has virtually no impact from political advertising.

Is political advertising impacting your local media campaign?

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Linda Thomas

About Linda Thomas

Linda is the Director of Media Services at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. With over 25 years in the industry, there isn¹t much she hasn¹t seen or done with regard to media planning and placement on a local, regional or national level.

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