Biden is getting a lot more TV/radio ad help from PACs than Trump
President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, which has him quarantined—and thus sidelined from his planned Wisconsin rallies and other potential campaign stops that would have yielded plenty of free earned media—means that he may have to rely more than ever on advertising to get his message out. But at the moment, the Trump campaign is at a distinct disadvantage in that regard.
Regular readers of Ad Age Campaign Ad Scorecard—an ongoing project led by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown in partnership with Kantar/CMAG—know that former Vice President Joe Biden started overtaking Trump in spending on TV and radio advertising in September. But it’s not just Team Biden that’s flush with cash and ad-happy. Pro-Biden PACs lately also have been outspending pro-Trump PACs when it comes to advance bookings of TV ads from Oct. 6 leading up to Election Day.
Democrat/pro-Biden PACs have $112.9 million of TV/radio ads cued up to run over that period, vs. $36.4 million by Republican/pro-Trump PACs. The top-spending pro-Biden PAC, Future Forward USA, has $70.5 million booked, while the top-spending pro-Trump PAC, America First Action, has $21.1 million.
All that spending, incidentally, doesn’t count digital spending; Ad Age Datacenter has been tracking campaign spending across Facebook and Google properties, as self-reported by those tech giants, but we learn about outlays only after campaigns run (unlike with TV and radio, where finite inventory necessitates advance purchases weeks or months in advance).
It’s worth noting that the Trump campaign’s digital strategy was thrown into disarray this week when digital lead Brad Parscale—demoted from overall Trump campaign chief in July—stepped down entirely on Wednesday evening. His resignation came three days after he was “detained and hospitalized following an altercation at his home in Fort Lauderdale,” as Fox News reported. “Police officers responded to Parscale’s home on Sunday after his wife called to report that he had barricaded himself inside with multiple firearms and was threatening to harm himself.”
In a statement, Parscale said he was leaving Team Trump “for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress.”