Different strategies in campaign ad battle
August 24th, 2012
11:03 AM ET
2 years ago

Different strategies in campaign ad battle

Washington (CNN) - In the TV ad wars in the battle for the White House, the big question is when to spend.

And advertising patterns point out two very different philosophies between the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"Chicago sees this contest as a seven-month run and Boston sees it as a three-month sprint," says Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group Vice President Elizabeth Wilner.

CMAG tracks political ad spending on broadcast and national cable TV. Total money spent on campaign commercials could top $1 billion, with CMAG saying about a third of that already being spent.

Obama campaign officials are very upfront about their strategy of taking to the airwaves early to get a jump on defining Romney.

"From a messaging standpoint, Chicago is banking on its summertime swamping of Romney with ads about Bain Capital, outsourcing, tax returns, abortion and education, culminating in its pre-convention rollout of Bill Clinton's 30-second case for a second Obama term," says Wilner. "This wasn't just a hunch for them-it was a calculation made out of necessity given the GOP's overall ad spending advantage, which started snowballing in mid-July and is expected to get even bigger as we enter the fall."

But while pro-Romney super PACs like Restore Our Future, Crossroads, and Americans for Prosperity have blanketed the airwaves with spots critical of the president, the Romney campaign held a lot of their firepower in the early months of the general election.

"Boston is betting on its use of the Olympics and GOP convention to start the rollout of Romney's biography, running mate and overall vision for America. This wasn't just a hunch for them, either-it was a decision made partly out of necessity given that Romney has to wait until he accepts the nomination on August 30 to access his general election campaign account," adds Wilner. "Boston did elect to zero in on Obama's performance on the economy from May through late July, waiting for the Olympics and the Games' whopping national audience, followed by the running mate announcement and the convention, as the right extended moment to start rounding out Romney's profile for voters."

Two different strategies. We'll find out which side was right come November 6.

This chart by CMAG's Harley Ellenberger showing the day-by-day net partisan advantage in TV ad spending over the course of the race. See a larger version of the chart here.


Filed under: 2012 • Ads
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Barry already has the Stupid Vote locked up. His new campaign is aimed at bringing back the dead vote.

    August 24, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. WILLARD MILTON ROMNEY IS A COWARD & TAX EVADER

    Willard Capone's campaign ad strategy is simple. Lie, lie, lie and hope it eventually sticks. Disgraceful!

    August 24, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. ST

    I really doubt whether the Boston strategy will work. Normally we introduce ourselves at the first place and don't wait the time to elapse in order to do it. Romney biography could have been out right even before GOP primaries started. With only 2 months left for election, they will be few who will concentrate in his biography while the opposition side has already done it on their behalf and on their own way.

    August 24, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. rs

    Being a Direct-TV subscriber, blessedly few political ads get through. However, based upon those I have seen the Republicans seem well entrenched in fantasyland- I can't think of a single ad I've seen that hasn't already been declared untrue by the fact-checker sites, or the news itself. The very worst of the worst have been Republican on Republican ads oddly enough.
    Which brings up a fundamental question: What are Republican assumptions about voters? Do they think campaign lies work? Do they care their credibility is so easily challeneged?

    August 24, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. BlkPwr817

    Can Romney & the GOP "LIE" any more than they have this whole campaign? I guess so. What else can they do? Telling the TRUTH would most definitely expose their laws & polices which they know many Americans don't want.

    "Lie Hard w/ a Vengeance" is a good movie tile for the Romney/Ryan team once they lose to OBAMA!

    August 24, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. The GOP Voucher Plan will include a "Legalize Euthanasia" clause and a free gun to commit suicide

    The old people will need it when their health care dollars run out.

    August 24, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Listening

    @rs both sides are guilty. The American people sometimes will choose a lie rather than a truth they don't like. What hurts the Dems is they can only say what they plan to do, rather than what they have accomplished. So the American people don't really take them at their word either because of current climate. Its the lesser of two evils and it sucks

    August 24, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. CoJo

    "Big Business is doing just fine" ... isn't that close to the same comment that Obama got criticized for? Sounds like a double standard (if democrats say it is bad, but if a republican says it, it is good)

    August 24, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. truth hurts

    "From a messaging standpoint, Chicago is banking on its summertime swamping of Romney with ads about Bain Capital, outsourcing, tax returns, abortion and education, culminating in its pre-convention rollout of Bill Clinton's 30-second case for a second Obama term," says Wilner.
    ==========================================================================================
    And yet Romney leads in some polls and is within the margin of error in others. It looks like Obama wasted all their money and nobody believes their lies except the koolaide drinkers, which they already had in the bag. No amount of money and advertising can change Obama's failures over the last four years. His "most significant achievement", Obamacare, 60% of the American people want repealed. Romney has all the ammunition he needs and very shortly he will be returning Obama's fire once the money frees up. Romney has rope-a-doped Obama and he is still standing while Obama is near exhaustion.

    August 24, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Which brings up a fundamental question: What are Republican assumptions about voters?"

    Use them and then toss them works for me.

    It's fairly obvious Romney has nothing but contempt for voters of either party. Paul Ryan is too much of an extremist to understand anything but his own viewpoint, which Romney hopes to cash in on if elected because God knows, Mr. Mittens hasn't a thought in his mind ... beyond glorifying Mitt Romney, that is.

    August 24, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. truth hurts

    Lynda/Minnesota - Paul Ryan is too much of an extremist
    ==========================================
    Oh really??? He gets re-elected with 63% of the vote. I thought Wisconsin was fairly liberal? Sounds like most people don't think he's an extemist. Sounds more like YOU are the extremist.

    So just what are YOUR ideas to save medicare??? A government take over the entire healthcare system??? Yeah, that is not extremist at all!!! hahahahaha.....

    August 24, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Would You Look At That

    If there's every been such an arrogant & narcissitic POTUS, or even presidential candidate, obama is it. It's annoying just hearing his voice. I can't wait until he walks out of the WH for the last time next January.

    August 24, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Larry L

    @truth hurts

    "Romney leads in some polls and is within the margin of error in others."
    ---------------------------------------------------
    You must be quoting the Rasmussen Poll – the Fox News joke that has been busted for dishonest and unethical practices. Your comments continue to be nothing more than a repeat of sound bites from Fox News and never offer anything but Jr. High-level attacks. Don't you go back to school this week? Hint – take an economics class.

    August 24, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Sounds more like YOU are the extremist."

    Feel free to think what you want. Fact is (and I know you and all your many friends will get a big chuckle) I am not a party hack such as yourself. There is good and bad within the Democratic Party and good and bad within the Republican Party. At this point - and speaking for myself only - the good within the Democratic Party far outweighs the bad within the Republican Party. Thus my viewpoint of Mr. Ryan.

    I am not running for President, therefore it is not my responsibility to "save" Medicare. I will, however, vote for the candidate who I feel best represents my views. No doubt you, too, will vote as you so choose.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    August 24, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. ghostriter

    Truth hurts, how bout we just raise the age, increase the amount contributed by the wealthy and cut benefits to the wealthy? Simple enough to be avoided.

    See, not everything is a huge undertaking. Your problem is that no matter how many times you run the numbers and find your guys ideas not working out, you will still support these losers. Add that you believe the nonsense they are spouting when facts prove otherwise and you have the perfect storm we call the conservative voter.

    August 24, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Ann

    Why do Obama and Biden look so angry and threatening?

    August 24, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Age of Fools.....

    Todd Akin...The self-appointed GOP-Gaffer.."Legitimate Rape"....OUCH...!

    Joe Biden....The anointed-appointed DEMS-Gaffer.."They'll put you back in chains Y'all"....OUCH...!

    Just because the Constitution guarantees "Freedom of Speech" to all its citizen "Does Not" mean Politicians are entitled to
    impose or inact-laws purely to force their personal beliefs onto others...especially beliefs which will discriminate against individuals of groups...

    Americans, repardless elect their Politicians to provide "Good Government" anything beyond that is overstepping.."The Government by the People for the People".....!

    August 24, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Mikey

    Best for the middle class:
    ** "I'm unemployed, too" to a group of people who don't have $200 million and are dealing with the real struggles of life.
    ** "I know what it's like to worry about getting a pink slip." Really, you might have to fall back on your trust fund.
    ** "If you want to go to college or start a business, just borrow from your parents." Clueless Mitt doesn't understand that most parents don't have the funds to loan.
    ** "We were struggling when Mitt was in college. Neither one of us had a job. When we ran low on money, Mitt would have to sell a little of the stock his father had given him." Yes, Ann, that is how most struggling families get along.

    Diplomacy with the leaders of the world:
    ** "These cookies don't look good. Where did they come from, 7-11?" Insulting your host shows a lack of class & tact.
    ** "I don't know if the people of Great Britian are up to supporting the Olympics." Insulting the entire population of an ally is beyond stupid.
    ** "Isreal is much better off than Palistine. Culture matters." Yes, Mitt, insulting the culture of a people you may need to assist in negotiating with is extremely stupid.

    Out of touch. Clueless. Tactless. Wrong for America.

    August 24, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. hesea

    At least Romney and Rayn talk issues and plans to resolve. We can debate the plans but at least they have them. Obama is sticking with the first 4 year plan A, that hasn't worked and hoping to distract voters with slander. At least if he was willing to look at other ideas to turn things around people may give him another chance, but sticking to the same failed policies are going to get R & R elected

    August 24, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Romney/Ryan Plan is economic hypocrisy. Ryan claims it would reduce the national debt, yet he admits that his budget does not provide a balanced budget until 2040 or beyond. Romney claims the plan creates jobs, which means revenue, but the budget plan does not provide a balanced budget until 2040 or beyond. That's 30 years! They are promising the moon while delivering nothing. Imagine how much the national debt will grow if we do not balance our annual budget for another 30+ years.

    Barack Obama was handed an annual deficit of $1.5 trillion and has reduced by $400 billion over 3 years. At that rate will have a balanced budget in less than a decade, even if unemployment stays over 8%. The Romney/Ryan Plan predicts unemployment figure at 5% or less, yet their budget doesn't balance for at least 30 years!

    August 24, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. open400

    If the GOP suppresses the vote in Florida,Pennsylvania and Ohio and Romney wins the presidency because of it, the country will become ungovernable – it will be 1968 all over again!

    August 24, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. mikey

    Obama has already accused Romney of killing a guy's wife, being a felon, being a tax cheat, being a money launderer, closing factories just to abuse families, being a draft dodger, torturing a dog, and assaulting a fellow student. The Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama's America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.. The left is using any event as a distraction as it pursues the Saul Alinsky tactics of community organizing. Obama's game plan is to divide the community into the Haves and the Have Nots, make the Have Nots believe they are unjustly treated by the Haves, build resentment against the American social and economic system, use church congregations to mobilize street agitators, and lobby government for higher taxes and big-spending welfare programs in order to confiscate the wealth and power of the Haves and turn it over to the Have Nots.

    August 24, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Izza Rollin

    If you voted for Obama in '08, not sure what you think is going to please you about Romney & Ryan in 2012. The regressive policies that they are proposing will make even libs like me wish for the Bush years.

    August 24, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |