October 24th, 2008
02:07 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama spending more on ads than all but AT&T and Verizon

 Obama's campaign has spent $250 million on ads in the past four months.

Obama's campaign has spent $250 million on ads in the past four months.

(CNN) - Presidential candidates are sold in much the same way a new product is: with an expensive, flashy, and ubiquitous television campaign.

And according to advertising figures provided by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on ad spending, Barack Obama's campaign has spent more money selling its candidate on television than most major brand name companies do selling their products.

The Illinois senator's campaign is projected to have spent $250 million on ads in the last four months - a number that is equivalent to $750 million in a full year. Only AT&T, with a yearly advertising budget of about $1.3 billion, and Verizon, which shells out $950 million a year on ads, spends more than the Democratic presidential nominee.

But most major companies spend far less than Obama, including McDonald’s ($588 million), Sprint PCS ($482 million), T-Mobile ($404 million), Target ($388 million), and Wal-Mart ($335 million).

John McCain is projected to have spent about $110 million since the general election began.

"This advertising spending by Obama is big, and not just in terms of presidential politics but in terms of all commercial advertising – he has spent enough to be a mega-brand," CMAG's Evan Tracey said.

Obama's massive advertising budget is also a stark reminder of just how much it costs to finance a modern presidential campaign — and, predicts Tracey, it could just end the era of public financing.

"If Obama wins it is clear that the days of being on public financing are over and anyone thinking of running for president in four years will have to ask themselves one question before jumping in – Can I raise $600 million?" said Tracey.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Danielle, TX

    Did anyone see the lady who claimed she was attacked by someone who saw her McCain sticker on her car and carved a "B" on her face MADE IT UP? Wow.......

    October 24, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    so what? that's why we donated money.... is CNN gonna whine about Obama's money like old McCain does?

    it's better spent money than paying for Palin's makeover in designer clothes....

    October 24, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Michael

    The AD"s are not McCain's big problem.The problem for McCain is himself. All the spin and hype aside. We all have our good and our bad sides. Before he was shot down in Vietnam, McCain was known as a hot tempered, self centered spoiled punk. Then he was taken prisoner which brought out his best side albeit temporarily.
    Thus fate made him a hero. Then after the war he reverted to type and was an adulterous leche who abandoned his faithfull wife for a young millionair heiress. He put on a pretty good show in the Senate for awhile but now under pressure we once again see the angry, bitter, shallow, small man that John McCain really is.

    October 24, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. ez

    Early voting is the way to go.

    Registered Republican "voted" Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |

    That's why we gave him the money you idiots, to get him elected! What the heck are these idiots going to complain about next, that I put too much money in the collection plate for children's welfare at my local grocery store and so now children everywhere are becoming healthy & cared for and its all my fault???

    October 24, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. rob

    well , at least its not going on make-up and designer clothes

    October 24, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. KC

    Millions of dollars to lie. Wow! Incredible in these very low times. Tells you exactly what type of president he will be. Spend, spend, spend.....only it will be my money.

    October 24, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Abby

    Please report that the hate-crime reported a McCain volunteer is false an that she admitted to making it up. Please repot the truth because the lie is in the ticker below.

    October 24, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |

    Does CNN ever have anything positive to say about OBAMA

    October 24, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Bulldog

    Oh you mean AT&T and Verizon, the two companies that put up cell phone towers for free on John and Cindy McCain's property in Arizona BEFORE he was even the Republican nominee.

    October 24, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th


    October 24, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Sagan

    With Republican sentiment down so low, I'm not suprised that the Democratic party has received a $700+ million dollar bailout. But this time, it _is_ from the American public and not Congress.

    I voted for That One!

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Kelley

    If you have to spend then spend it on winning.

    Obama 08'

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    Yes, most major companies spend less, ONCE THEY ARE ESTABLISHED.

    When a new brand hits the shelves they hit the market with an advertising blitz. That's just the way things work.

    Obama is a different kind of politician selling a different kind of politics. He's got to hit the ads hard to get a majority share of the already established market.


    We, the donors who are giving him the money to advertise, understand this. We continue to support him because we understand this.

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. jm for sc

    That is why we donated to his campaign. The message needs to get out in order to keep McCain and Palin out of the whitehouse.

    Before casting a vote for McCain, please read PNAC and McCain to determine his connections before it is too late.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Shay

    Go Obama Obama you got McCain where you want him. Broke McCain Broke McCain. Go home Go home and don't come back, and don't come back.

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Tre

    So what

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |

    Time for McCain to come out with more lies & attack ads !!!
    No Republican has ever won the White House without lying in ads & portraying the Democrat as unpatriotic.
    McCain needs to lie more, e.g. tell Americans… Plumbers make more than $250K/year, so Obama will tax plumbers heavily. Americans are dumb; (they will not know that the average plumber makes only $41K/year) they will believe you, especially those living in the rural areas.
    Your VP-choice is also a Far Right Extremist. She is driving away moderates to Obama
    So spend more money on clothes & lipstick, to put on your pit-bull, so she will look more like a hockey mom.
    *** More war years
    *** More tax-cuts for the Rich
    *** More freedom for Wall Street
    *** More Spying on the American people
    *** Better healthcare for the Rich & Healthy
    *** More Drilling opportunities for Exxon-Mobile
    *** More tax-cuts for companies that ship jobs abroad
    *** More Guns in our homes and streets (McCain is Pro-gun)

    McCain will attack and obliterate Iran in his first year ….and His girl will kill Rove V. Wade

    October 24, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Frank

    This has been a joke of an election! All nations are laughing at us and at our ignorance that needs to be compensated by advertisements to win elections!!!! Wow, this is sad for our country and our nation!!! Obama may win the Presidency afterall, but it sure looks as if he "bought" it with the weak $ we now own!!!! Good job Obama for making a satire out of our election and our people!!!

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. ME

    …………………………............•:*¨¨*:•.VOTE.•:*¨¨*:•.FOR: .•:*¨¨*:•.TRUTH.•:*¨¨*:•............
    ……………………...……....•:*¨¨*:•.MCCAIN .•:*¨¨*:•.PALIN:
    ……………................................•:*¨¨*:•.PEACE .•:*¨¨*:•.......................

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. vic

    We Obama supporters will make sure he has enough money to fight the nasty smears of the republican party. We will continue sending money so he can stay on top of the hate filled McCain campaign and their dishonest lies and misconceptions.
    Next, McCain and Palin will be calling Senator Obama a communist. Wait and see.

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. James from Kansas City

    Some of that money was mine, and I think it's money well spent.

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. ObamaVolunteer

    We freely gave our donations; the campaign is using what is necessary to win. The campaign is not using the donated money to make money; the campaign is using the donated funds to better the United States of America, by working to get our candidate elected.

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. 50 states: BLUE: 08

    Great, I had just donated again to the OBAMA Campaign. Glad to see it is being used well for his campaign rather than spending it on clothes and accessories. BTW: $4000 for a Louis Vuitton bag for her daughter...wow, dod the RNC pay for it as well........

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. LIP

    That is truly impressive and gives us a big heads up as to what it will be like under a tax and spend Democrat. All you well wishers out there are going to pay for all the programs Obama wants to implement and Joe thinks you should do it with a smile on your face.
    So, prepare to paste on your smile suckers!

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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