Advertising agencies will be the big winners of the 2016 election with advertising orders at their fastest paces ever recorded. But, some strange trends are developing in spending so far. While the official Clinton Campaign as well as independent pro-Clinton elements are spending on TV advertising at expected furious rates, the official Trump Campaign has spent zero on ads so far, spending money ordering mostly baseball caps and bumper stickers. Many find this a confounding strategy. This “hold your fire” strategy could be some plan to wait until close to the election, and then to “carpet bomb” the airwaves with ads. But, former Oregon Senator Gordon Smith found out in his first failed bid to run for the U.S. Senate after the resignation of Sen. Robert Packwood that is effort to “carpet bomb” the airwaves actually backfired, where people felt over-exposed to the candidate and actually planned to vote against him as a sign of rejection. But, what was known was that Trump’s Campaign spent $3.2 million in ads on the New Hampshire primary, but then quickly reduced spending in each later primary, finally down to around $100,000 before quitting all TV ads.
So far, the official Clinton Campaign has spent $52.3 million, which is probably about as expected. Priorities USA Action, an independent effort supporting Clinton has spent another $37.1 million on ads. Vets Vote has spent $1.1 and Women Vote $616,000 as two more independent pro-Clinton groups. By contrast, the official Trump Campaign has spent zero on TV ads, but the pro-Trump Rebuilding America Now has spent $5 million, while the pro-gun lobby, NRA Victory Fund has spent $3.2 million, for a small $8.2 million effort for Trump. Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Campaign has spent just $15,000 so far, counting mostly on interviews and two CNN Town Hall events for their campaign publicity. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has surprised a few political observers with some slickly produced ads, and comes across as a skilled candidate who could seriously make a bid to capture many former Bernie Sanders voters, spending $189,000 on some effective looking TV ads.
After Labor Day, expect the TV advertising war to really step up and the big question will be answered on where are the missing official Trump Campaign ads? But, regardless expect to see up to a total billion dollar TV advertising war on the tube.