Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More money than you can imagine

For an election campaign, anyways. Tonight will see the airing of Barak Obama's 30 minute infomercial - an extended campaign ad with both taped and live components. Some of the taped components were filmed by Davis Guggenheim, whose father was the campaign documentarian of Robert F. Kennedy. Considering that Obama's speeches are scripted by a man who worked closely with Ted Sorenson, JFK's speechwriter, it seems that Obama has a fondness for that particular school of Kennedy associated talent.

According to the NY Times, this ad will be shown on NBC, CBS, Fox, Univision, MSNBC and two cable networks that cater to African-Americans, BET and TV One. Ross Perot is that last presidential candidate to run 30 minute ads; eight long infomercials to an average of 13 million viewers, with one of them getting 16.5 million viewers.

This media shot will cost $3million although some reports peg the price tag at more like $6million. Just to put it into perspective, the entire national Conservative Party campaign in the past federal election came in at around $22million for everything. In the last provincial election, all the political party spending put together didn't come close to $3million (I suspect it was more like half of that, numbers have yet to be released).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In October, the Obama campaign spent more than $100million and is currently running about 7700 commercials a day. McCain, because he accepted public funding, is limited to a campaign spending ceiling of $84million for everything - he's only running less than half the number of ads and can't afford anything longer than 30 seconds. A detailed breakdown of who spent how much on what ads can be found here.

McCain has had to make choices in where he spends money and he's chosen to play defence. While Obama can spend big money everywhere, McCain, has had to reduce his advertising in swing states like New Hampshire and Wisconsin so he can advertise in states he must win, like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

If you are living in places like Washington DC, Virginia or Florida, you will find that almost every prime time show, daytime show and news program is saturated with political advertising. Mostly Obama's.

If money is the mother's milk of politics then Obama must be close to drowning.

No comments: