The 2008 Election and the Super Bowl

I have to give praise to this International Herald-Tribune article for pointing this out to me — something I had not seen from an American media source (if its been printed at all).

We’ve all seen the various media reports that show how many states want to be voting on Tuesday February 5th.

At the moment, California, New York and New Jersey are the Feb. 5 giants, muscling their way up the schedule to accompany the likes of Missouri, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Oklahoma and Utah. But legislatures or governors in Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and several other states also want to be in on the early sweepstakes.

The candidates must first run a January gantlet of primaries and caucuses in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. To add to their stress levels, Florida now wants to hold its primary on Jan. 29.

People have noted how expensive it is to run in these big state media markets.

A weeklong ad that runs statewide in California or New Jersey, for example, can cost between $2 million and $4 million, depending on how often it airs. Three ads like that could create a serious financial crunch for a campaign.

But 48 hours before the “Super Duper Tuesday National Primary” we have America’s biggest unofficial holiday: Super Bowl Sunday. Last year’s Super Bowl charged $2.6 million per commercial.

Yup. The Super Bowl will be held two days before the largest presidential primary in American history.

Now consider this a lot of people – and I mean A LOT OF PEOPLE – watch the commercials as much as the game.

Consider that 94.1 million people watched this year’s Super Bowl game, according to Nielsen Media Research. Consider, too, that the most-watched moment of the broadcast, as measured by TiVo rewinds and downloads, was not a highlight of the game but an ad for Bud Light. (emphasis added)

So, do candidates spend lots of money in all these states… or take a chance on reaching an even broader audience by using the Super Bowl?

Well… consider these last paragraphs of the IHT story:

Of the more than 20 states contemplating or already scheduled to hold a Feb. 5 primary or caucus, 14 have a total of 18 NFL teams. Chances are good that a primary state will have a team in the game with a sizable and attentive audience to boot.

What’s more, a good Super Bowl ad benefits from vast media attention, extending the buzz it generates for days. “If your spot is really good, you can end up quadrupling the benefit of that ad,” said Tobe Berkovitz, associate dean of communications at Boston University and an expert on political advertising.

But, Berkovitz cautioned: “You run a piece of junk and you’re going to take a hammering that will be incredibly destructive to your campaign.”

As an avid fan of the NFL and politics, it will be very interesting to see is this plays out.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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