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. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Wish I had $150,000 to spend on clothes. Or even $520 for a pair of shoes.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    October 24, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. Michelle, PA

    Good, he's using my money for the purpose for which I sent it.

    If you have enough support to win, and enough savvy to set up the operations, you will raise enough money from voluntary donations to run your campaign. If not, why should the taxpayers be forced to fund a loser whose supporters aren't enthusiastic enough to stand behind their candidate with ten bucks? Never could understand that one.

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. JT

    Obama: Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

    Knock 'em out Obama!

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Charlie Bradley

    Stick a fork in the Moose and the elephant...they're plenty roasted.

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Moxie

    Nothing like buying an election. I wonder where he would be in the polls if he wasn't as visible as he is. Too bad we can't rely on him like we can on AT&T and Verison. The next time the Dems want to accuse Bush or anyone else with "buying" an election, they should just remember Obama.

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Joe

    This is only the start for Obama. If elected Obama will ruin a lot more in this country than just the political process.

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Annette

    The McCain camp is jealous!

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. MB

    What do you expect if you have to defend yourself from lies everyday.

    October 24, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Bible Spice wears $5000 lipstick

    Obama's great campaigning and fund raising shows his leadership abilities and intelligence.

    It also shows that he has the judgement to surround himself with smart hard working, good people in his campaign.

    He will do the same as President!

    October 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. MBuvia Greenwood,IN

    Where did he get all that money ? HMMMMM...from US the citizens- because we are desperate to change Washington and the effects of the last 8 years.. He represents HOPE unlike other candidates. People have given him their money in the HOPE that the U.S. will recover its Consitution trashed by Bush and Cheney, its world standing, its economy, and bring our soldiers home from a war we should never have been in.

    October 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Edmund

    Congratulations, Obama. You promised to play on a level playing field, but broke that promise. I hope it feels good to use citizens' much-needed income to buy your way into the Presidency.

    October 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Voter for Obama

    Obama continues to inject more dollars into the economy than John McCain :-)

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. david Armendale, SF, CA

    The idea is to win. and I'd rather see my contribution to the Obama campaign spent on the message that this country needs real change, and not just a wardrobe change from Saks Fifth Avenue.

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Will the Real Maverick Please Stand Up?

    Hahahaha–even McLame's supporters are turning to desperation!! The 'attack' and 'backwards B' carving on the student in Pittsburgh has been debunked as a hoax.

    A hoax. A ruse.

    Kind of like McCain's campaign.

    Desperate, desperate old man.

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. karen Raleigh

    Obama/ Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Simmy

    Sen Obama is an exordinary, one of a kind politician.

    No one else will ever do what he has done.

    John McCain is the worst. He's not the subject of this article, I just wanted to exhale.

    I Baracked my vote on Oct 4, Go out and VOTE early!

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Noah

    If this had been John McCain who lied about taking public financing and then went back on his word and raised hundreds of millions of dollars all the Liberals would be crying that he was buying the election. What a farce this is. Obama should have a 20 point lead on McCain considering he has 10 times the money and the policitical atmosphere favors Democrats. He only has a 1-5 point lead because he is the single worst candidate the Democrats have ever nominated and he cannot seal the deal with the country

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. GARY

    Obama is a arrogant ,bias prick. He has more BS. than anyone ever walking the earrh. His supporters are nothing but hateful naive morons. America is headed for the worst fall if this media, greenhorn moron gets elected. Obama has his supporters in a fantasy world of empty promises. They are so naive and idiotic they believe everything he says.Here is some schooling for you morons. There is only two things quarenteed in life, paying taxes and dying. Think about it you morons.

    October 24, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Mary Domangue

    I've been trying to follow the presidential and vice presidential campaigns pretty closely, but have not been able to determine if the candidates have been asked if they plan to reinstate the military draft if they're elected. I suspect Senator McCain will reinstate it almost immediately, but am not sure about Senator Obama. Will someone try to find the answer to this question for me?

    Concerned Mom in Louisiana

    October 24, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. therealmarie

    An as a Obama supporter, the decision of how he spends his donor money is left up to his campaign managers and him. He has run a brilliant campaign so far. I trust his judgement completely and will continue financially to support him. I am not at all interested in criticism by the MSM. They have only their own interests in mind. I have no respect for their opinions when it comes to anything they have to say about Obama, especially CNN.

    October 24, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Justin

    ...this story appears to be fluff. It is almost nonsensical; a candidate for president, especially one that is not as well known as others, spends an insane amount of money in a short period of time before an election, and whoever wrote this story magically multiplies the amount so it would be consistant during the whole year, $250 million somehow becomes $750 million?

    Please, please, please... our media needs to be objective AND critical. Please do a better job.

    October 24, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. tulsa

    Just donated another $25 bucks. Wish I could make it to the party in Chicago on Nov.4!
    GOBAMA!!!!!

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

    Well, he's done a lot more for the economy with his version of public financing than "that other ticket".
    But back to the real issue of today regarding the latest McCain attack ad: can someone kindly explain how being a jet fighter pilot on a Navy ship during the Cuban Missle Crisis or being a POW in Hanoi equates to "tested" regarding today's world geo-political dynamics.
    A heroic and noble military serviceman – absolutely. But a national leader – absolutely not.

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

    McCain Volunteer Who Claimed "Carved B" Attack Confesses To Making Up Story

    October 24, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Mark

    What a Joke! 750 million.

    And you wonder why the American Economy is hitting the dumps. Soooo much waste and greed. The real people who should be running your country never even get a chance. Americans need to relook at how your elections are run and the length of time to run them.

    October 24, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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