Our Insights

How to Stay Above the Noise This Election

March 8, 2016

Managing your advertising program during a presidential election season is kind of like hunting for that daunting mall parking space during Black Friday’s pre-dawn hours.

The earlier you arrive, the better. You shouldn’t mind parking somewhere new and hiking in from the furthest lots, because at least it means you found a spot. And simply turning around and going home means, well, it means you lost.

In other words, you can still win. You just need a better plan than simply showing up.

More than $39.4 billion was spent on political ads during the 2012 election, according to Borrell Associates. During the final 20 days of the election cycle, the ads saturated more than 75 percent of local news or prime time breaks, based on InterMedia advertising data.

Those figures alone are simply jaw-dropping. Now add this: Borrell predicts that spend to increase to 11.4 billion for 2016. And that’s not just broadcast TV spending. In fact, online/digital advertising is predicted to be up 576 percent over 2012.

If you’re a brand simply seeking to share your message across broadcast and digital channels through the remainder of 2016 the same way you always do, you might be a little panicked right now. If you’re launching a new product or campaign, “frightened” might be a better description. Yes, the schedule will be crowded. Inventory will run low. And prices will be up. But you can avoid getting lost in the shuffle with a few simple steps.

Get ahead of the fray
You probably knew we were going to say this, right? The election cycle, especially during a presidential year, is a vacuum of airtime and digital real estate. By staking your claim early, you’ll avoid being shut out. For many brands, especially those in retail and restaurant, the late-season election cycle aligns with the ramp-up for holiday campaigns, creating even more urgency for you to act sooner than later. Remember, it’s not just the politicians and PACs you’re jockeying for position with. Your peers and competitors, at least the savvy ones, will also be looking to plan more proactively than ever.

Manage expectations
Placing early buys and paying a bit more than usual may be a gamble. Consider this insurance for not getting shut off from the airwaves and online ad networks. And what you may perceive today as not the most cost-effective schedule can look much better tomorrow for many reasons. For one, you’re locked and loaded with a schedule while your competitors’ messaging sounds strangely like crickets. Additionally, you’re building loyalty with vendors that can pay off in any number of unexpected ways once the smoke clears from election season. Paying it forward was never quite so literal.

Tune into a new (or old) channel
Even by taking a proactive approach to media buying during the ramp-up to the November elections, you may find some gaps in your media planning. If you haven’t already turned to digital, that’s the first place you should look. Yes, politicians are mining the ‘Net for fertile targeting opportunities like never before, but we have programs that connect you with your audience without worrying about battling the white noise of political ads. We can also explore other media with you, from radio to outdoor placements. (Of course, if you’re unwavering on your broadcast approach and can’t find the right openings, we have some sound strategies for connecting with your audience via TV in a fresh way.)

Being paralyzed by the uncertainty of how to approach media planning during the heightened political season is a guarantee that your message gets lost and forsaken. Lewis Media Partners boasts the advanced technology, experience and relationships to help you weather – and even thrive – during the storm of political advertisements. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.

Lisa Quisenberry