With less than a year to go until the 2012 Presidential Election, the campaigns are off and running. But, if you’re tired of political ads already, just wait. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, ad spending could hit $3 billion in 2012. For comparison, “about $2.1 billion was spent on television advertising in 2008, up 30% from the previous presidential cycle in 2004. The 2010 midterm saw $2.4 billion in TV ad spending, up 30% from 2006.”
The influx of political ads will leave less commercial inventory available for “regular” advertisers — often, local businesses that typically depend on ads to reach consumers. And that presents an opportunity for PR and social media.
Recently, we had a conversation with a client who relies heavily on television advertising. The business is somewhat seasonal, and for the past two decades, television has driven sales — with great success. 2012 is going to be different. Because of the limited ad inventory available through local stations, the company knows they won’t be able to reach nearly as many people via television ads. Instead, they’re looking for alternative ways to connect with consumers. Enter a smart, strategic PR and social media plan — one designed to pick up the slack during the peak political advertising season. By making plans now to expand the communication toolbox — incorporating email marketing, media relations, events, blogger relations, social media, and targeted online advertising — this company is planning ahead to offset the reduction in “eyeballs” reached by TV ads.
If you’re a business that relies on advertising, now is the time to develop and begin implementing a plan to stay connected with current and potential customers — a plan that accounts for the limited television advertising inventory. Likewise, PR pros have an opportunity to provide some leadership and show how “earned”and “owned” media can be part of the solution.
Photo credit: League of Women Voters California