Editor’s note: This post includes spending data analysis by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown. Scroll down to see the charts.
Now that we’ve survived a set of four-day primetime TV political infomercials—the Democratic and Republican national conventions—we can all look forward to ... an even more relentless flood of traditional campaign ads.
If you’re a regular and recent reader of Ad Age’s Campaign Trail coverage, you know that Team Trump has had the lead in booking fall TV advertising this election cycle. But now the Biden camp is finally catching up.
In fact, on Thursday, the last day of the Republican National Convention, Team Biden plowed $38 million into advance bookings of TV ads, per the latest Ad Age Campaign Ad Scorecard analysis—an ongoing project led by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown in partnership with Kantar/CMAG.
That sudden surge means that the Biden campaign now has $134 million of TV ads booked for Sept. 1 through Election Day, vs. $147.7 million booked by the Trump campaign. And those numbers don’t even count pro-Biden and pro-Trump PACs.
Both camps’ swing-state strategies—and hopes and fears—are plainly on display in our breakdowns of spending by state (see the first chart below).
Trump, for instance, is spending $37.8 million in Florida alone to run his campaign ads on TV (vs. $17.3 million by Biden). He won the Sunshine State in 2016, beating out Hillary Clinton by a margin of 1.2 percent, but FiveThirtyEight’s ongoing tracking of various Florida polls gives Biden the edge over Trump at the moment.
Since, as they say, all politics is local—really, really local—we’ve also broken down booked ad spending by top specific TV markets; scroll down to see separate charts for Team Trump and Team Biden.
Right now Trump plans to focus hugely on the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota (Fla.) DMA, while the Phoenix-Prescott (Ariz.) market is getting the biggest Biden TV commercial windfall.