Marketers Beware: 2016 Election Advertising Threatens to Crowd Out, Drown Out Your Brands

Get ready, folks. The 2016 election season is on.

With it will come tremendous challenges for any marketer interested in reaching, well, let’s see … women, young professionals, African-Americans, Hispanics, men, retirees, college students — essentially any demographic to which you’d want to sell a product, idea, or service.

Why? Because political campaigns of all shapes and sizes want to reach those same demographic groups with a political message. These campaigns are amassing record-breaking war chests and in the weeks — not months — ahead will be scooping up available ad inventory on TV, online, on mobile devices, and on the radio.

Just how big are the political war chests expected to be this time? Time will tell. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if our state is as competitive as political observers believe it could be, more than $250,000,000 could be spent in North Carolina on political ads alone. That’s far more than the $70,000,000 plus spent in the noisy and prolonged Tillis-Hagan U.S. Senate race.

Why North Carolina? Because this time, our state will host a full ballot — President, U.S. Senate, and Governor are all up for grabs this go-around. And because North Carolina has colored itself purple over the last few cycles, many astute political observers argue that the path to the White House may very well hinge on what happens in our fair state.

So what does this all mean?

You better be prepared. Nimble. And creative. Marketers will need to show some flexibility to maneuver marketing plans and advertising spends through the next 17 months. Inventory is already booking up. National Journal recently reported that online inventory is starting to sell out on some websites. Several media reps we work with have confirmed that they are already fielding political advertising inquiries for availability this fall — this fall, not next fall.

We’ve been warning clients for some time now that the forthcoming political cycle promises to wreak havoc on communications channels in our state. Our advice? Have a plan in place to make sure the heavy political buys don’t drown your brand and marketing plans out.

Need helping navigating your brand through all of this noise? Call us.