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Advertising Association Issues Guides for Brands Amid Political Season

6 Jun, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

NEW YORK – The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) is advising agencies can do to deal with heightening political activity on a local basis and how to manage advertisers’ expectations.

Estimates have shown there will be a record $9 billion in political ad spending this campaign season, increasing the clutter of political ads and creating more a challenge for brand advertisers to have their message heard among all the political noise.

“Local stations have to take federal candidates’ advertising, but not for all state and local hopefuls. Stations must give candidates equal time; the four weeks preceding the election date are therefore the tightest for available inventory. On local TV, prime and the various news dayparts are typically the most affected by political advertising. Early/late fringe and access are ancillary dayparts but being used with increased frequency,” the 4As said. “There is an expectation for more spending in national cable, which could relieve the pressure in local markets, but might also just be additional spending.”

The 4As has advised agencies to mind the political calendar, avoid news dayparts or decrease their percentage of the daypart mix in them, have greater flexibility with client guidelines, avoid bonus points and test buys during a political window, and bring clients into the scheduling conversation early.

“There will be several periods by market throughout the year where political rates will be federally protected, giving political buyers the station’s lowest unit rate for a time period. These political periods are often where much of the spending occurs before elections and as a result where clients see the most missed spots. If possible, avoid these weeks, or at the least, inform your client about the challenges they pose,” the 4As said. “Think ahead to allow greater flexibility with substitutions, upgrades and make-goods; a tiered list of options approved by a client upfront is a good start to allow a buyer space to navigate the marketplace.”

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