How They’re Spending That Cash

Poring over the latest FEC reports, Ben predicts: “It's going to be a good year to be in ad sales in Des Moines.” This morning, the Nielsen Company put out a report that breaks down exactly who’s advertised so far, where they’ve done it, and—perhaps most interestingly, in this day and age—what medium they’ve chosen to get the message out.

According to the report (pdf here) Mitt Romney has advertised far more than all the other candidates, running 4,549 ads, through June 10, “mostly on local broadcast television” in seven markets, including Iowa and New Hampshire. He’s placed “more local TV advertisements than all other candidates combined,” the report says.

Rudy Giuliani is going for a much more analog approach thus far, running “hundreds” of local radio advertisements in every U.S. market. He and Romney are apparently the only candidates on the radio at present. Oddly, his campaign seems to have been focused on buying time on radio stations in Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Providence. Obviously the first two cities are in states that border Iowa, while radio waves from Providence probably reach New Hampshire—but still, it seems a little indirect.

On the Democratic side, the report says Bill Richardson has run the most television ads so far, more than 2,200. Interestingly, Barack Obama only began running TV ads in Iowa last week.

John McCain has placed the most paid online advertising. “McCain had 12 times the exposure of other candidates as a result of online advertising in April,” the report says, “generating nearly 26 million impressions.” Hillary Clinton’s campaign “scaled back online advertising significantly in May,” but still generated the second-most website traffic among Democrats, to Barack Obama, who spent … zilch. According to Nielsen’s measurements of online “buzz”—based on cumulative mentions on blog posts or discussion groups—Obama is the most talked-about candidate, doubling Hillary’s buzz. McCain leads the Republicans, the report says, possibly due his heavy online advertising.

UPDATE: The Nielsen people send along the following correction to the report that I linked above:

There was an labeling error in the chart "2008 Presidential Campaign Television & Radio Spots" on page 2 of the news release. The first column should read TV Total and not TV & Radio Total. The data for that chart is correct.