United States citizens are living through unusual times. Not only has the pandemic upended or transformed businesses, but it’s causing political campaigning to be conducted almost entirely virtually. The 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden won’t be decided by rallies in various states or by door-to-door volunteers. Instead, advertising could play a larger role than ever before.
The New York Times reports that Joe Biden’s campaign effort is investing $280 million ($220 million on TV and $60 million on digital) to push his presidential run starting on September 1st. Trump’s campaign has reserved $145 million in TV ads after Labor Day, but the digital spend is unknown. Both campaigns have raised record amounts of money and have outpaced what Trump and Clinton raised four years ago.
While circumstances have effectively forced both Democratic and Republican camps to increase their advertising spends, the marketing push could pay off. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, individuals with an interest in politics do watch more TV each week. Democratic or Liberal voters spend 10.9 hours in front of the TV each week, compared to 10.2 hours for Republican or Conservative voters, and just 6.2 hours for those who don’t follow politics. Ad tolerance among these groups is fairly even, with about 50% of each stating that they can’t stand long ads of 30 seconds or more.
According to the NYTimes, Biden’s campaign plans to book national ads, including on “major viewing events” like sports and news, and on networks it said would target Black voters, including BET, TV1, Bounce and OWN, which could reach an estimated half of Black households. Given the increased time we’re all spending in front of the television these days, the impact of the upcoming political ads should be significant. America’s future may very well be decided by advertising dollars.