By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director
That’s exactly what John Kimball of The John Kimball Group recommends when putting together a plan to tackle political advertising. And, no, John is not suggesting self–reflection here, but rather looking within your own company for those that have a passion and understanding of politics.
Having that champion along with clear, concise packaging and a bit of research can put you on the right track. Kimball along with Tom Edmonds of Edmonds Associates and Kip Cassino of Borrell Associates says there a large number of funds available in this blockbuster political year. Or as Cassino refers to it: “The Flood of 2012.”
Why such a dramatic description? According to Cassino, ads have already infiltrated the market. There’s been a marked increase of 40% from 2008-2012 in per-voter spending. Key states where even more spending will occur are Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado. And although different expenditure numbers were presented (Kimball with $5 billion and Cassino with nearly $10 billion), let’s just say it’s big. Kimball says in all, 81% of the country’s 7,384 state legislative seats will be up for re-election In addition to thousands of local races.
In terms of advertising, Cassino you’ll see something that hasn’t been seen in a long time: Political advertising at the movie theater. Cable will increase because broadcast spots will sell out and online has also surged (this includes search, display, social, email and video).
Newspapers have opportunities to sell complete packages with online and direct mail. Having similar targeting opportunities as direct mail, newspapers provide more options particularly when post office delivery days could be an issue. We are more than newspapers. Packages should include video, post-Its, polybags, voter guides, etc.
And speaking of packages they should be very simple and inclusive and include a political rate card.
So where to find these buyers? Sources mentioned include www.fec.gov (Federal Election Commission) and www.opensecrets.org. And most all states have campaign financing and expenditures online. Also listed in the presentation are a number of political publications.
Lastly, don’t wait until the last minute. Newspapers tend to wait too long to prepare. Perhaps there are some interns on your team that can start the research process and don’t forget – find that person with a passion for politics.