October 24th, 2008
02:07 PM ET
5 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. karen-phoenix

    As a 40 year long republican this is why I have been donating to Obama/Biden for the last few months!!! NO MCPalin!!!!

    October 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Doug in New Mexico

    Obama got his money from the little guys, like me for instance. He does not owe his soul to the big money guys like McCain. So what if he spends.

    October 24, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. Sammy

    Maybe he will want to spend spend spend. Just remember that to do so congress must say yes. Usually it does so after negotiations. But in the end they are still the ones writing the checks. Same thing about Iraq. Bush wanted to go and the senate said "ride 'em cowboy!"

    October 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. BM

    When you become president Obama, we will help you even more!Thanks for saving us from going down with the Titanic!

    October 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. tuff Col. Oh

    AWESOME,, I'M SO PROUD OF THE OBAMA TEAM, AND I'M PART OF IT, HE'S A MAN WITH A REEEL PLAN

    October 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Bruce

    If you have EARLY VOTING in your state get out and VOTE today.

    If not get to te voting stations early and make sure your vote gets counted.

    Do not let anyone tell you that you can't vote. Demand to see a voting official.

    October 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    @ ABBY : I WAS WATCHING CNN DURING LUNCH AND CNN ....DID......REPORT THAT THE "CRIME" AGAINST THE 20 YEAR OLD, WAS ...............BOGUS!

    ANOTHER LOW FOR REPUBLICANS! GOOD GRIEF! CAN 'T YOU PEOPLE TELL THE TRUTH?

    October 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. carolflowery

    Stacie, have you been living under a rock

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Ryan

    is there anything positive to say about Obama??

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Joe

    I'm glad to see that you can buy the Office of the Presidency these days. Absolutely disgusting. So much for a democracy!

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Georgia Gal

    Well if he has the money and clearly he does I say go for it.

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Independent Voter

    Obama uses the money I donated. I don't mind a single bit.

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Independents for McCain

    Wow!

    Yet no one talks about Obama's wardrobe.
    Yet no one has a problem with Obama's $1mil Greek Temple at the DNC convention.

    But let the focus be on a false story about "Palin getting $150,000 wardrobe at a time when people are loosing their mortgages!"

    Wow!

    October 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Bob

    Typical trying to buy an election. Is this really the politics of change? Sounds like Chicago style politics!

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Chris (SC)

    What is he supposed to do? Not spend the money? He has it to spend and money is very very important in politics so why would he save it?

    If you really think about it Obama is probably propping up a small portion of the economy with all the money he is spending. Just another reason to vote for him. :)

    Does anyone think McBush wouldn't spend money in exactly the same way as Obama if he had that much to spend?

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Blue By You

    That's what happens when you get voluntary contributions. The people want REAL change.

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. BM

    Wouldn't it be awesome if she snitches that it was McCain's idea?

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Rick CT

    A man of his word? Change that we need? What other promises will he break? It will be fun to start counting late evening on November 4th.

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Ryan

    bulldog, im not sure where you are going with that...

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Josh in North Carolina

    Maybe the Obama negavity come from the fact that Exxon Mobil is one of CNN biggest sponsors..

    October 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Mark

    Curious someone let me know how this is possible

    John McCain has spent $110 million since the general election began.

    Did he not get public finanacing that limits him to 84 mil?

    Someone let me know here..

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. King of Nashville

    It's campaign money...I thought that's what you supposed to do with it?

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Eli

    I wonder why Michelle and the two girls are not going to Hawaii to visit Grandmother. How often has grandmother seen the girls. If she is as bad as Obama says and he actually cares about her the way he has acted the last few days i would think the girls and Michelle would be on their way to hawaii with him. FISHY, but so is the rest of Obama dealings.

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Joyce D. Surprise

    I can't help but think how much good the millions spent by Obama (huge amount) and McCain (much lesser amount) would have done for the starving children of the world. Instead, television stations are getting richer from this out of control spending and who does it help in the long run? There should be a limit to what a presidential candidate is allowed to spend on advertising. That would also level the playing field.

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Jason

    Mega-brand sounds about right.

    Why so many people funnel their money into this pointless enterprise is beyond me. Save it and pay off your homes instead!

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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