Media Buying During Election Season

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My daughter recently asked me what people mean when they refer to Colorado as a “swing state.” The simplest answer is that Colorado’s electorate is split rather evenly between Republicans, Democrats and Independents, which makes us important in determining the results of a presidential election. But even in years when no one is vying for a seat in the Oval Office, elections here in Colorado get a lot of attention.

Governor Hickenlooper is term-limited, and there are four Democrats and four Republicans competing for their parties’ nomination in the June primary for the gubernatorial election in November. With just six months left to go until November, the $15 million in candidate advertising spending for this election has already outpaced the $10 million spent each of the last three times Colorado has elected a governor. The 2018 gubernatorial race is poised to be the most expensive in Colorado history, with KDVR/KWGN projecting $60,000,000 in political dollars being spent in the market for 2018.

One of the implications of all this spending is a tidal wave of political ads during the primary election window May 12 to June 26, and the general election window Sept. 8 to Nov. 6.The most heavily impacted medium will be television, but radio and online advertising will see increased spending as well. When possible, Evolution recommends structuring broadcast media buys around these windows due to the higher cost of advertising and the limited availability of inventory.

Another option is to consider alternate media for your campaign. For example, outdoor and out-of-home advertisements are not as popular with political advertisers as TV and radio are, so consider a transit campaign, or a mobile billboard. Got a brand new video you just can’t wait to show off? Ask your local public access channel, or run it at a movie theater in your county. Then post it all over social media and encourage those in your circles to share.

Buying media in an election year means you have to be a bit more strategic in your budget negotiations as well. Don’t expect a lot of no-charge public service announcements, as most stations are oversold and simply don’t have the available inventory. This doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate to stretch your budget. Ask the station to run free streaming spots for your campaign. Tell them you’d like them to put your web tile on their site or ask if they can run your no charge spots after the election is over. It’s also important to remember that not all broadcasters take political advertisements: Radio Disney, Colorado Public Radio and Rocky Mountain PBS don’t run political ads, offering advertisers (and viewers) a break from all those negative campaign ads.

Evolution can assist with your media planning and buying no matter what time of year it is. Give us a call and let us use our volume media buying clout to maximize your budget, and ensure your message gets noticed!