Presidential campaign update: Brace yourself for a $300 million fall TV and radio ad blitz
With just six weeks left until Election Day, the presidential campaign ad game keeps changing every day and every hour ... and sometimes even from minute to minute.
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 our real-time monitoring of political ad spending frequently reveals wild swings. For instance, as we reported over the summer, the Trump campaign dropped $95.9 million in advance bookings of TV and radio ads in just one day (June 29).
But that was then and this is now. Most of the major movement lately has been coming from the Biden camp—which until recently (basically right up until Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate) was badly lagging Team Trump in terms of advance ad buys.
As of this writing, the Biden campaign has $115.4 million in booked TV and radio bookings through Election Day, vs. $125.3 million from the Trump campaign. And we predict Biden will pull ahead of Trump in short order. But actually, when you count the advance TV/radio outlays from pro-Biden PACs ($73.5 million, vs. $16.9 from pro-Trump PACs), Biden is effectively already ahead.
As always, a disproportionate amount of the overall TV/radio ad spending is going to swing states (see our “Top 10 swing states” chart below)—including $73.6 million (from Trump, Biden and the PACs that support them) targeting Florida alone.
That’s an appalling number if you’re a Florida media consumer—but an absolute, toe-tingling joy for Florida purveyors of airtime. You can get a sense of how much campaign cash is flooding into specific swing-state media markets in our “Battle for Florida” chart below, but right here, right now we’re also going to call out three stations that are among those seeing the biggest windfalls:
Merry early-Christmas, WFTV ($6.5 million), WESH ($6.1 million) and WKMG ($5.2 million)—all of which are based in Orlando.
And keep this in mind: “Bloomberg Says He’ll Spend $100 Million in Florida to Help Biden,” per The New York Times earlier this week. We expect at least some of that sum to start showing up in our pro-Biden PAC tracking as soon as today.