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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/24/obama.ad2.jpg caption=" 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. Blaze, Atlanta GA

    It's ok and is indeed newsworthy to note the amount of money Obama is spending in the campaign. But CNN, please do not embellish reporting to sensationalize it. Report the facts. Obama spending $250 million in 4 months is not the same as spending $750 in a year. Come on. You can't annualize just for your convenience. He have been running for 2 years so get his expensidure for a year and report on it, not take the highest few months, annualize it and call it facts. If I buy a car in December for $20k, will you report than that it's the same as me spending $240k on transporation in a year?

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

    And this is news because??????
    I like it better when you are reporting on the real issues that plagues us.

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

    Ok, so he spent 250 mil in the past few months, but he has NOT spent 750 million total, because he hasn't been spending at the same rate all year. This article is deceptive.

    October 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Joseph

    Yeah great obamas supporters really want him to get elected and have owned up to enthusiasm by helping him ward off the smear campaign that hes chosen not to wage, he has yet to do an ad on the Keaton 5 or gordon liddy, or troopergate which by mccains standards should be fair game right?. hey CNN how about updating that GOP staffers attack claim eh? Race baiting to the extreme, not only did she say her attacker was black ,but described every article of clothing down to his socks as being black, pathetic

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Bob

    "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."

    Secret Service installed those. Typical Obama supporter. Weak on the facts and issues. That's what happens when you fall in head over heals in love with someone.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. 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 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. witch

    Correct me if I am wrong but isn't that why they raise money to buy ads and print flyers and signs plus open offices in states? Yes it is a lot of money but I bet if the other party had the same they would do the same.

    October 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Annie

    From the article – "he has spent enough to be a mega-brand," CMAG's Evan Tracey said."
    And unfortunately he is being sold as a brand rather than a person – he is the magical cure to all evils and excesses, the one who can fix everything, leap tall buildings in a single bound... and who has so beguiled the media including CNN that the amount of pure fabricated criticism toward the other campaign is astounding. It just goes to show that you can buy your way into history if you can get enough others to pay for your excessive and expensive means of travel. Public financing should not be dead but be the prerequisite for all future campaigns. Just how much does Obama need from the very ones he is supposedly saying all need his help, yet he keeps taking their money? Just when is enough enough for this big spender?

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. B.Travers

    Where's all the put-downs? There's usually tantrums about how much money the other campaign is spending. But what can you expect? Once biased, always biased!

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. george

    only one right now helping the economy look how much money he's giving back

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Tony

    Stupes give me a break... First the press complaining that they dont know the dam man.. crap about he being an unknown.. Now his campaign is working to insure that the people of America knows Obama, the press complaning he spending cash on ads... LOL LOL OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. susie

    Obama is spending 600 million to buy the Presidency.

    October 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Dirty Harry

    That is absolutely an unfair advantage! Swaying the vote with money! Obama broke his campaign funding pledge just as he will break his campaign promises. This man is not to be trusted. He has too many X's in the 'Con' column for me!

    October 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. vahe

    well we have to tell the truth about out mccain

    October 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Ork

    I wonder how valuable is the Obama brand? hum..

    October 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Jason

    It's worth noting that most of the money he's spending is from individual contributors. Still no money from special interests or PACs. So the real news is NOT how much he's spending, but how he got it in the first place – the active financial support of more people than any other campaign in history.

    October 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Dennis N Texas

    Let's get real here folks. If John McCain had the funds to spend he would be right up there doing the same thing trying to stay on top in the race. But thank GOD the USA may finally get a President that is worthy of the office.

    Go OBAMA/BIDEN.......People, get out there and VOTE and let's get this victory done.

    October 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Cynthia; Bham

    I would rather he spend it on getting his message out there rather than dressing his running mate.

    October 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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