With estimates of 2016 political advertising spending ranging from $6 billion (Wells Fargo Securities) to
as much as $11.4 billion (Borrell Associates), there’s
no doubt that this election cycle will break spending
records during the first 11 months of the year.
“The Republican field began with 16 candidates
and through the early primaries, the pack has thinned,”
says Peter Koeppel, president of Dallas-based Koeppel
Direct. “By Super Tuesday, March 1, it is likely that the
herd will be reduced further, perhaps even on the Dem-
ocratic side of the ledger. That will certainly reduce the
amount of money being spent directly by candidates as
well as the PACs supporting them. The question is, will
those dollars shift to the remaining viable candidates
and continue to suck up more media inventory or will
more airtime be available to direct advertisers as the
leading candidates emerge?”
In August, most estimates put ad spending on
NBCUniversal networks’ coverage of the Summer
Olympics at more than $1 billion — and vast swaths
of viewers are expected to forsake their usual viewing
habits (and favorite networks) in favor of watching the
world’s top athletes go for gold.
How will these issues affect the marketplace for performance-based marketers? Richard Stacey, president
and CEO of Toronto-based Northern Response Intl.
Ltd., answers, perhaps only half jokingly, “Whatever
happens, Donald Trump will always have a great sec-
ond career as a DRTV pitchman. He could be the next
What do he and other members of the Response
Advisory Board think about these 2016 challenges? We
asked — and many answered — for this, our first quar-
terly edition of the 2016 Advisors’ Forum.
What expertise could performance-based marketing experts add to
political advertisers’ arsenals?
Doug Garnett, Atomic Direct: There are many lessons political advertisers could learn from performance-based
advertising. They’d especially do well to learn from
our ability to make messages concrete and valuable —
something many political ads lack.
That said, the primary challenge facing performance-based ads is that we need a message that inspires
viewers to respond. Online, those kinds of political
campaigns do well with click bait, asks for donations, or
conversation starters. But it’s harder to create a reason
to respond to a political ad that’s on TV. As in the past,
political candidates could gain by leveraging DRTV’s
longer formats. Some stories — like those that introduced us to Barack Obama in 2008 — should be told in
A Long Run … and
a Short Sprint
Every four years, marketers are faced with the same double-whammy that affects not only media availability but also consumers’ attention spans — the U.S. presidential election and the Summer Olympics. However, though 2016 pres- ents many of those same challenges, the expansion of technological capabilities
in the hands of performance-based marketers adds both complexity and opportunity.
Expected record-level spending on the yearlong presidential campaign
and August’s Summer Olympics present well-worn challenges. How
will performance-based marketers respond?
BY THOMAS HAIRE