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. Debby

    Yep thats Obama's new way of spreading the wealth is spreading himself all over the place. If this guy becomes President I wonder if he is going to do for the small guy all that he is preaching. He is sure spending a mint to sell his image.

    October 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. TjayeInLA

    Because he wants to win. Duh!!

    October 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. S. Boatman

    Mccain Is Almost Out Of Cash! Today I Will Donate Another 20 Dollars To Obama To Help In The Home Stretch!

    October 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Martha Hale

    I think I am OK about the advertising money for Obama...after all, it's not a Big Mac or Cell Phone he is selling! He's running for the President of the USA and our country is in big trouble.

    October 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. SHIRLEY "60"


    October 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Bridgette-PA

    OK, What's your point CNN?? At least he's not spending on himself or people in his campaign to LOOK GOOD! Stop trying to change the subject from what the real issues are facing Americans everyday! You are just as bad as "Fixed News" sometimes!

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    October 24, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Polles show a lead but there is really only one poll thta counts and ht one is on 4 Nov 08. Obama wants to fight to help get the USA on track. He nneds your help


    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. viince

    "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."

    He's spending the most because he's raised the most. I'm going to donate some more right now. Obama 'O8!

    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Texas Mom for Obama

    McCain campaign has brainwashed his followers! They are now lying about attacks in the hopes of dividing a state along racial lines to win an election. How sickening! Send him and his cronies back to Arizona. We had had ENOUGH! Time to move forward with a dignified leader, and that leader is Obama!

    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. CindyN--PA

    You people are so silly on the Republican side to call it tax and spend. Considering how much your party has spent over the last 8 years, with the Biggest Government ever, and even McCain admitted that just yesterday. Get your facts straight before you criticize what you think Obama will do. Again~ hypocrisy at it's finest.
    Maybe instead of crying around about what you think will happen in an Obama Aministration, you should move your party to a more moderate stance, and quit letting the far Right Neo-Cons have so much control of your party. Your Far Right, Religious fanatic, neo cons that have warped your entire party. No wonder so many in your party are jumping ship.

    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    At lease Obama is spending his money on trying to win this election instead of the McCain campaign spending $150,000 on getting clueless airhead Palin some new clothes so they can lose this election in style.


    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. RWG

    So, Obama is spending $250 million to put our country back on track after W and his boys just cost us over $700 BILLION to bail out their cronies. I'll take the Obama model any day!

    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Greed is not good

    What lies? McWarmonger & Palin are repeatedly caught lying by factcheck and now can only resort to hate, smears, and fear mongering.

    October 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Ken

    KC, son. If you've sent money to the McCain campaign, or if you've been unlike your buddy Joe-the-fake-plumber and you've actually paid your taxes the last few years, then you have already had your money spent, spent, spent, on a lost and wasted cause. But I truly cherish the thought of you wasting your money on the LOSERS you want elected to office.

    October 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. MCCAIN 08

    After Obama buys the election, the socialists will kill capitalism, bankrupt Joe the Plumber, erase God from every public place and teach abortion as a method of birth control. No wonder people of Islamic faith hate Americans. I'm sure Obama will appease the terrorists when he starts retracting support from Israel. Maybe that's what Biden was talking about.

    NOBAMA 08

    October 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. paul (reformed republican)

    As long as he keeps them truthful. I'm weary of smear tactics. And even Obama's campaign has placed some questionable "facts" into a few ads. On the other hand, the republican smear tactics campaign is what is turning many Independents and "swing voters" of both parties to vote Obama/Biden.

    October 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Texas Mom for Obama

    correction: We have had enough!

    October 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. New Day

    well, we are donating to his campaign for him to win, not for him to be economical. What do you want him to do with the money, CNN, take Biden out to Sax Fifth Ave for a shopping spree?

    October 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Obama is a smooth talking car salesman

    Which one has a more negative campaign? One man trying to buy the election. Nice job. Love that the man who wants to save us all money can spend so much of it campaigning. nice tactics..

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. The Bluest Skies are in Seattle

    Never heard the voters that send $ to Obama complaining /know that is what I donated for was a WIN .
    My thoughts were to end sending our men/woman to this Bush,Cheney.Mccain war that was started with lies to the public we dont need 100 more years of war or another 4 more years of MC Bush / If it takes donating to accomplish electing Obama and to put the country back on track I AM ALL FOR IT 100%

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. jm for sc

    That was the purpose of donations.

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. salxander

    I think it should be worth noting that John McCain's campaign has spent as much a Wal-Mart by that same standard if you extraplolated his spending over a year as was done for Obama. That also doesn't include the money spent by the RNC on McCain, which far outweighs anything the DNC has contributed to the Obama campaign – if any. I'm also curious as to whether the $250M Obama spent includes money donated to the DNC for helping other senators/congressman in their elections. Lastly, I believe that too much emphasis is given to how much money he has raised rather than to how he was able to rasie so much money. Obama is a candidate that so many people believe in they are willing to put their money behind him – even in one of the worst economic meltdown's ever in US history. This says mor about the candidate than the fact that he is spending the money to help him get his message across to undecided voters.

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Cedric

    Funny how Republicans want free market and small government but complain about Obama raising $700 million $86 at a time from regular people like myself. $700 million is nothing compared to the priceless looks on the faces of rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on the morning of Nov. 5 though. Can't wait to turn on Faux News after the election.

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Kate

    This is as it should be. Most of the funds available to a candidate should be directly related to how much interest they can garner from the population. Obama has inspired millions of Americans and many, including myself, have given money to a campaign for the first time. He deserves every single solitary dollar that he has raised.

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Fla Sam

    Obama's supporters (millions of them) have given him donations to win this race. Obama needs to make sure he uses all of his available founding to win on Nov. 4th. I don't see why this would be an issue.

    Obama – Biden 08/12

    October 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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