DRTV marketers will have little time to recover following the Summer Olympics. Increased political ad spending in 2012 will cause problems nationally and in local markets, clogging up inventory and creating all sorts of mayhem. TV ad buys are typically the largest source of expenditure in presidential campaigns and 2012 is set to be the most expensive in history. It is estimated that $9.8 billion will be spent in political advertising; about $6.5 billion of which will go into TV (AdAge).
Broadcast TV has garnered the majority of ad buys but with increased spending (2012 will show a 43 percent increase over 2008) there will be a heavy focus on cable. Along with record investments in digital spending that could possibly shift the focus from TV further; this may provide some openings for marketers in network television (Huffington Post).
DR marketers looking for support in regional markets will face many challenges finding inventory. A January 2012 Barclays Capital report estimates that by the November 6th election, campaigns will have spent $2.6 billion, 85 percent of which will go to local TV (Bloomberg News). But opportunities will exist, the election cycle is not constant and not all markets are equally flooded in political focus. To date, only eight states have drawn advertising from both parties and fewer than half of all households have seen a presidential ad air on broadcast TV in their markets (AdAge). Through mid-July, Florida and Virginia have generated the highest ad buys. Conversely, Utah, Texas and California have seen very little spending (Washington Post).
The presidential election is a television phenomenon permeating markets, programming and ratings, but it is cyclical. Smart agencies know how to navigate them using advanced planning, flexibility and attention to detail. Managing expectations, monitoring markets, modifying campaigns or rollouts and advance planning are all important practices marketers should be aware of when collaborating with DRTV agencies.