The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Media Plans

Businesses are between a rock and a hard place right now. For many, sales are down and as we head into the holidays, they need to get back out there — but as the election looms and political advertising takes center stage, media inventory is becoming increasingly expensive. We’re already seeing the effects of media being eaten up by campaigns from the Biden and Trump camps, and many brands are already paying more for what they’re buying.

Managing Director

Prime time inventory around the debates is sold out and was more expensive than anticipated. Inventory that appeals to swing voters in battleground states is also seeing a significant spike in pricing and tightening inventory across all channels. And to add insult to injury, it doesn’t look like the pandemic, and the impact it has on the media landscape, is going anywhere anytime soon.

We’re being faced with a reality like never before. And with brands who need counsel — should they hold off until after the election? Can they afford to, especially if they’ve held off all summer? Is buying around the presidential debates a smart or risky move? How do you balance all of these competing forces? The answer: it depends. These are just a few quick ways brands can figure out the best move for the weeks and months ahead:

  1. Determine relevancy. It’s imperative to consider each company and their industry on a case-by-case basis, and their industry accordingly — the advice we give to a financial services company can vastly differ from a non-partisan fact checking organization, for example.
  2. Develop smart creative. What this entails, and how and when this shows up, is incredibly important as it will be clear whether the brand genuinely wants to be part of the conversation or is merely seeking eyeballs. Don’t invest in — and overpay for — an audience that’s only there to focus on one thing — the issues — when you’re trying to convince people to buy makeup or book a cruise.
  3. Conduct a thorough cost analysis. The most obvious is, how much financial flexibility is there? Does it make sense to wait until inventory is cheaper, or will doubling down in the immediate future pay off.

As GALE helps brands navigate the best way forward, these simple factors should be the basis for any media strategy leading up to the November 3rd election, and what happens on November 4th in the three weeks from then to the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday push.

Kim Sivillo

President, Media Investment