The Trump campaign returned to the TV airwaves this week after slowing down and briefly cutting advertising over the last couple of weeks, during the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
The campaign will spend more than $6 million on TV in key battlegrounds during the first week of September, according to data from CMAG/Kantar Media. That’s more than the campaign spent on TV over the previous two weeks, which featured prime-time opportunities afforded by the convention weeks.
President Donald Trump’s campaign didn’t totally withdraw advertising during the convention weeks, with significant investments in digital advertising, including banner advertisements on YouTube, that totaled more than $25 million.
But overall, the Trump campaign was outspent by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign by more than $20 million during the last two weeks of August. Biden’s campaign spent more than $50 million on advertising in just that two-week span.
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Starting the month, the Trump campaign will spend about $2.4 million in Florida, $1.4 million in North Carolina – where voters will be mailed ballots this week – $1 million in Georgia, and more than $600,000 in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Over the course of September, the Trump campaign has about $48.7 million total in TV airtime booked. For the month, the campaign’s top targets include Florida, with nearly $12 million in ad bookings, North Carolina, with more than $5.6 million, Ohio, with more than $5.5 million, Pennsylvania, at $5.2 million, and Minnesota, at more than $4.5 million.
With its new reservations this week, the Trump campaign launched a national security-focused spot, telling voters that Trump has “rebuilt our military, repaired a broken VA, and eliminated Soleimani, al Baghdadi, ISIS.” The ad echoes key campaign messaging on public safety, saying, “Today, America is safer and stronger than ever.” It also makes no mention of coronavirus, as the Trump campaign continues to avoid mentioning the pandemic in advertising content.
The Biden campaign, meanwhile, has about $53.2 million in TV airtime booked for the month of September, with $9.3 million in Florida, $7.3 million in Michigan, $7 million in North Carolina, $6.4 million in Pennsylvania and $6.1 million in Arizona.
Outside ad spending in the presidential race is also set to ramp up as the campaign season kicks into high gear. A new pro-Trump super PAC that emerged just this week already has nearly $25 million in TV reservations booked for the next couple of weeks, with more than $5 million in North Carolina as ballots go out to voters. Meanwhile, leading Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA, has more than $10 million in TV time booked in the month so far, also in key battlegrounds.