Close

US election advertising war

Kantar Media

  • Contact Us

    Close

    Contact Us


    To

    editor@kantar.com

    From *

    Message *

  • Close

    EMAIL TO A FRIEND


    To *

    From *

    Message *


Source (Story.Master): Kantar Media

US election advertising war

Tech // TV 20.12.2012

Elizabeth Wilner

Vice-President of Kantar Media CMAG

  • Contact Us

    Close

    Contact Us


    To

    editor@kantar.com

    From *

    Message *

  • Close

    EMAIL TO A FRIEND


    To *

    From *

    Message *

Why Mitt Romney lost the advertising war to President Obama

Costly TV advertising influences only a relatively small percentage of voters, but Obama made every dollar count. Kantar Media CMAG projected that about $1.1 billion would be spent on broadcast TV advertising. And in fact, our preliminary estimate for actual spend is $953 million. TV advertising is the single biggest undertaking of any campaign: about 75% of everything a candidate raises goes to support it.

Republicans outspent Democrats on broadcast TV by our preliminary estimate of $479 million to $396 million. The Republican spending edge was expected. What was unexpected was that Obama's campaign still either held its own or even retained the advantage in most aspects of the air war.

Obama's ad people got a lot right and also got lucky. Start with timing and tone. According to our early findings, 89% of Romney's general election ad occurrences had a negative tone; 92% of all Republican general election ad occurrences had a negative tone. This was a serious risk for a nominee about whom the country knew very little and whom Democrats raced to define with an early, intense barrage of negative ads. Romney's improved poll standing after the first debate suggests that if his campaign had chosen to round out his profile earlier, the impact may have been blunted.

TV advertising really only matters at the margin, influencing a small pool of undecided voters and possibly boosting turnout among likely supporters. This means that increasingly large sums are spent to affect the choices of fewer and fewer people. But three of our last four presidential elections have been decided at the margin, including 2012, so the onslaught has had a critical impact. 

Obama's campaign won the air war by making the very most of its resources and deploying all the weapons in the advertising arsenal. As much money as was spent in 2012, quality and quality control ultimately mattered more.

Source : Kantar Media


Editor's Notes

  1. Click on the infographic above, or download it, to see each day of the presidential campaign, the number of ad occurrences focusing on Romney was net positive in tone or net negative in tone, and the length of each bar shows the size of the advantage that day. The red bars depict days when the Romney-focused ad occurrences were net positive; the blue bars depict days when the Romney-focused ad occurrences were net negative.

Latest Stories

Low satisfaction with pain medication amongst UK patients

Scottish Opinion Monitor infographic April 2014

Irish supermarket share data from Kantar Worldpanel

Improvements seen in the UK economy have yet to impact most people

Forthcoming European elections are turning into a two horse race

Email Alerts

Be the first to find out about our latest reports.

Log in to change email preferences

Related Content

John Lewis’ tale of the Bear and the Hare wins the battle of the Christmas ads 2013
View more

As the BBC moves to a new home, we look back at the centre’s impact
View more

The fast evolving world of media consumption in Africa
View more

How are Chinese TV companies leveraging social media?
View more