Trump Only Needs to Spend, Oh, Another $100M or So to Catch Up to Clinton

Gap Between the Campaigns/PACs on TV, Radio Ad Buys Remains Yuuge

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The Ad Age Presidential Campaign Ad Scorecard is sponsored by The Trade Desk

Editor's note: Here's the 27th installment of the 2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Scorecard. The chart below represents a collaboration between the Ad Age Datacenter -- specifically, Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf -- and Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG). Some context from Simon Dumenco follows. --Ken Wheaton

Last week we wondered, "Is Donald Trump's Campaign on Vacation?" Apparently not! OK, yes, campaign chair Paul Manafort is now, suddenly, on a sort of vacation (see: "Paul Manafort Thrown From Trump Crazy Train"), but the newly installed Trump campaign management team certainly seems to have a pulse.

When the Ad Age Datacenter team first looked at Trump campaign TV and radio ad bookings early Thursday morning, the data was still showing $0. A little later in the day, the numbers suddenly started ticking upward -- just as news broke that the Trump campaign was deciding it needed to do some TV advertising after all. As we noted in a post yesterday, that spend is believed to be in the ballpark of $5 million.

The data you see here -- which covers combined spending on broadcast/cable/satellite TV and radio -- shows just under $4 million in spending booked by the Trump campaign for ads set to run today through Nov. 7. The million-dollar gap will likely close up by Monday (the data you see here was current as of 10:30 a.m. ET Friday), as there is sometimes a lag as individual ad bookings in markets large and small get logged into the system. The gap is also indicative of just how insanely rushed and last-minute the Trump campaign's ad bookings have been.

Speaking of gaps, despite all buzz about the Team Trump's new willingness to advertise -- and the release of Trump's first general-election TV ad -- well, take a look at our chart and you'll see that Donald Trump and the PACs that support him have a long way to go to catch up to the booked TV and radio spending of Hillary Clinton and the PACs that support her.

Ad Age 2016 Presidential Campaign Scorecard
Booked broadcast/cable/satellite TV + radio spending now through election day by candidates and PACs
Source: Ad Age analysis of data from Kantar Media's CMAG.
Spending and ad buys (future buys subject to change) for president campaigns from Aug. 19, 2016, through Nov. 7, 2016.
Pay structures differ for candidates and PACs. Candidates pay the lowest unit rate. PACs pay whatever the market will bear.
Chart by Chen Wu.

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