Effective advertising during an election campaign is challenging but important
Campaign season. The airwaves, the
newspapers and every corner are covered
with political messages. Our democratic
process is what makes the
United States different
every other country
in the world. If you
fall will be a challenging
time for you. But, you can navigate
through this season with some
finesse and get the most you can out of
your advertising dollar, with a little
Most media sources (television, radio
and newspapers) are reporting that they
are placing more space than in a normal
non-presidential campaign season. The
reason is that some of the issues that will
be in question format on the ballot, are
also using advertising, especially the marriage
and marijuana issues. It makes
sense that these races and questions create
the need for advertising essential, while
space and time are limited. The pricing
structure also changes during this period.
So, you not only have to consider competing
for time and space, but your unit
price goes up, too. Let me explain.
In order to inform the public and protect
freedom of speech for the candidates,
the media (television and radio) must
offer the lowest unit rate to all candidates
by law during the campaign season. All
existing advertising contracts and rates
during this time frame are reviewed six
weeks from the primary election. At that
time, the lowest unit cost is identified and
is valid for all political advertisers until
the general election in November. So, the
media has to be very careful in their pricing
for this time of year no deals for
anyone else, that’s for sure. Newspapers
offer political rates. Some would say that
these one-time advertisers get an unfair
advantage over the tried and true advertiser.
After all, there should be some
benefits for bigger annual advertising
As the political campaigns draw closer
and closer to Election Day, campaign
managers will grab all of the space they
can get, second-guessing the competition.
So, if you are advertising during this time,
and have preemptable rates, which are
priced lower, your radio and advertising
ads have a great chance of getting bumped
to a less desirable time of the day, or they
don’t run at all and your account gets credited
not a great thing if you’re having a
date-specific sale! Since newspapers and
magazines can grow with the amount of
advertising, your ad won’t get bumped, but
you may not like where it gets placed.
The following are just some of the tips
that will help you make the most of your
marketing and advertising dollars during
this political season:
* Wait, if you can. But, you’ll find a lot of
advertisers with the same idea. The second
and third week in November is
almost as booked over 90 percent
as October. So, is waiting until the end
of November sensible for you?
* Stay in there and advertise. But, make
sure you are buying fixed rates, so you
don’t get bumped. You’ll pay more, but
you’ll sleep at night.
* Don’t buy a lot, but buy strategically.
Buy specific programs, specific times, and
specific pages. It will cost you a premium
rate, of course, but your ads won’t get lost
in the sea of political advertising.
* Produce shorter spots for radio and television.
Some stations suggest this, as
they have specific times to run five-, 10-
and 15-second ads, and the political ads
are never this short.
* For television, buy prime time and entertainment
programming, as even the minor
campaigns will be buying the news.
After considering the points above, I’m
sure you’re getting the picture that this
next month can get complicated. Thank
your lucky stars if you have an advertising
agency, or agent. A good one will be
looking out for your interests.
Election Day will come soon enough
and we’ll all be happy when it’s over.
Don’t forget to vote. I call it the wind
under our country’s wings.
Marlene Olsen (email@example.com) is
president of Olsen & Associates Public
Relations. She writes a monthly column on
public relations and advertising for NNBW.
It’s the first legal action brought against the mining tax proposals, each of which were voted on mostly party-line votes during this summer’s special legislative session in Carson City.