Republican Campaigns Get Picky About TV Advertising –


Republican Campaigns Get Picky About TV Advertising –

Campaigns and “super PACs” can single out potential voters with a high degree of specificity thanks to reams of research about the political affiliations, voting habits and even charitable donations of television viewers. And here in the Tampa Bay area, which is home to a quarter of the state’s Republicans, the presence of political advertisements on some surprising shows and channels reveals the level of precision that political strategists are employing as they seek an edge in this intensely competitive primary.

Certainly, highly rated crime dramas like “NCIS” and “Person of Interest” are popular choices for advertising, as they have been among Republican candidates in previous elections. So are N.F.L. games. Fox News is still the cable network of choice, so much so that local cable providers cannot make room for all the political campaign orders they receive.

But the Weather Channel, the Food Network and HGTV — channels that do not come immediately to mind when one thinks of the Tea Party — are also broadcasting their share of commercials that end in “I approved this message.”

A look at the demographics of those channels explains why. According to data that campaigns use from Scarborough Research, 36 percent of Florida residents who identify themselves as Republican have watched the Weather Channel at some point in the last week. (By comparison, only 7 percent of Republicans here had watched MSNBC.) The chance that Republicans in Florida have tuned in to the Weather Channel in that time frame is higher than for people of other political persuasions.

The numbers for HGTV are similar. Twenty percent of Florida’s Republicans have watched HGTV in the last week, and they are measurably more likely than other Floridians to have done so over the last seven days. The Food Network and the History Channel have similar audiences. Research shows that those networks do not have as much reach among people who identify as Democrats.

Political and media strategists say there are no simple explanations for why those networks tend to be more popular among Republicans here.

Reaching likely Republicans is only part of the demographic puzzle. Campaigns must also aim for the age bracket they believe is most likely to support their candidate. And in this case, a look at the Nielsen data shows how much Mr. Romney and his backers believe that older Floridians are crucial to his victory.

The campaign and super PAC have both been advertising heavily on CBS shows like “CSI,” “The Mentalist” and “Criminal Minds,” which draw the largest share of their audiences, by far, from people who are 50 to 64 years old, according to Nielsen.

Their focus on those programs helps explain why candidates and PACs have committed $19 million to advertising in Florida — more than they have in any other state so far. The CBS prime time programs are some of the most expensive to buy. A 30-second spot on “Criminal Minds,” for example, cost the Romney campaign $6,000 here. Because the campaigns get the lowest available rate, PACs spend far more. That same 30-second spot cost Restore Our Future $12,000.

via Republican Campaigns Get Picky About TV Advertising –

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