We’re on the precipice of the most hotly contested and personally inflammatory U.S. Presidential election in history. This election has abandoned politically correct statements for outrageous accusations. It seems our Republican and Democratic candidates have accepted verbal abuse as commonplace.
With the general election only one day away (voting has already begun in some states), advertising has become intrusive, vindictive and aggressive. Between Donald J. Trump’s multiple allegations of sexual assault—and the abusive accusations both candidates are making toward each other, speeches have become muddied in personal assault. Campaign messaging features little to no discussion of policies, but focuses only on discrediting the other party.
Trash talking has become the norm. Political messaging has been very hostile and personal. Hillary Clinton’s forceful taglines read: “Trump: He’s Like That Guy in your Fantasy League who Talks Trash all Week and Forgets to set his Lineup,” “Tell Trump He’s Not Fit to be Commander-in-Chief,” and “Tell Donald Trump to Release His Tax Returns.” Some ads even infer that Trump is a Putin puppet.
Trump’s ads skew to the lewd and character assassination, “Only Trump can stop crooked Hillary,” and “Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of corruption.” And typical of most Republican themes, his ads include more patriotic symbolism including a space ship (a direct knock at President Obama’s dissolution of the program), American flags, and his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Both candidates rate above a 50% negative evaluation by the public. A historic first. Messaging is also intermittently splashed with contest details, where part of the prize was to meet the candidates in-person. Clinton promoted a contest to join to see 11-Tony award winning Broadway hit, Hamilton. She is affectionately calling the campaign “See Hamilton with Hillary”. While Trump promoted a luxury contest of his own, “Ride on Trump’s Campaign Plane, Trump Force One.”
Clinton’s digital messages peaked in January at 269 websites whereas Trump’s advertising soared in August across 390 sites according to MediaRadar, a media research company that tracks advertising insights and analytics for over 2.6 million brands, including digital ads and TV in real-time and is the leading ad sales intelligence tool.
Clinton’s ads hit another high in June (near the convention) at 251 in July, then leveled off more recently. This is quite indicative of her strategy to flood the market with digital ads, then ease off after the announcement Tim Kaine as her VP running mate. In contrast, Trump didn’t start advertising until after the convention and the announcement of Mike Pence as the Republican VP nominee.
In a last campaign rush, both candidates concentrated on penetrating TV for October. Clinton ran ads across 36 TV networks to Trump’s 30 TV networks according to MediaRadar. Both candidates are casting a wide net, hoping to pull voters across the 18-50 age demographic.
As the ballots come in, and this election winds down, we’ll continue to follow ads across platforms.
Don’t forget to vote!
Todd Krizelman: Growing up in Palo Alto, Todd Krizelman was born and raised near the epicenter of technology innovation. Krizelman joined veteran web architect Jesse Keller to found MediaRadar in 2007. After years of thorough research, development and data collection, MediaRadar is now the most comprehensive data company focused on the ad sales market. He previously co-founded one of the world’s first social media sites, theGlobe.com and led the site from inception to taking it public on NASDAQ. Krizelman is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School.