The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

Barack Obama.

Yep. The Obama campiagn is purchasing a 5 million dollar Olympic package. 53

According to the Advertising Age:

In the first significant network-TV buy of any presidential candidate in at least 16 years, the Obama campaign has taken a $5 million package of Olympics spots that includes network TV as well as cable ads.

Clearly, the Olympic vibe (massive crowds, uplifting themes, unity) synergizes extremely well with Senator Obama's core message themes. I fully expect his spots to be more of the "soaring" variety, and less of the "down to earth" types. It's also debatable whether - even if they chose to compete - the McCain campaign could run spots that wouldn't be a total buzzkill given the Olympic context.

Well, I suppose McCain could bust out that green Jello background again (please?).

It's not clear if this will be one commercial, or a suite, but the purchased time could cover multiple blocks, or even several channels:

NBC Universal is airing 3,600 hours of Olympics coverage on its broadcast network and cable networks including NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network, Oxygen and Telemundo, and while some of the Obama campaign's spots will air on network TV, the breakdown of how many or exactly when they will air was not immediately available. It did encompass most dayparts.

From a marketing perspective, what's interesting about this is that the NBC Olympics has a global audience. Instead of targeting battleground US states (a classic efficient buy), Obama is looking towards serious blanket coverage. Of course, you could make the case that EVERY state is a battleground in this years map, but I guess even the EU gets a nod this year. NBC Universal also operates NBC Europe and NBC Giga (in Germany).

Unusual or not, I for one will be tickled to see the anchors going to break with:

"Brought to you by McDonald's - I'm loving it; Chevrolet - An American Revolution; and Barack Obama - Change You Can Believe in!"

Update: While the programming is international, I'm not sure the ADs are. This would make the buy national at most. If I find out more specifics, I'll add them

Tags: advertising, Barack Obama, Olympics (all tags)




but im not sure you are correct about the ads internationally.  here in canada, usually US shows and/or networks work like this:

1.  the show is on nbc - but canadian commercials are shown

2. the show is on nbc - but is 'taken over' by a canadian network ie. CTV and shows canadian commercials.

i might note that this is not 100% of the time - but usually for the big-ticket shows.

either way it sucks on superbowl.

by canadian gal 2008-07-23 06:51PM | 0 recs

I wasn't sure about that part. I'll update...

by Neef 2008-07-23 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

It's a national ad buy:

National broadcast advertising buys are highly unusual for presidential candidates. Campaigns usually order TV ad time in local markets (most often in contested states) and sometimes supplement it with cable television buys.

"Both the scale and the scope makes Obama's buy unprecedented," said Evan Tracey, the chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks advertising spending. "This is going beyond the battleground states; this is coverage that the entire country sees. It sort of validates his 50-state posture."

Both Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain, his Republican rival, are setting new records for television advertising spending during the campaign. Mr. Tracey said both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are spending close to $6 million a week on TV commercials.

The Obama campaign declined to comment on the advertising buy. But the campaign's ability to spend $5 million is a direct outgrowth of his ability to raise a lot of money -- $52 million in June. It also reflects the intensity of the advertising efforts in this presidential election.


The trade publication Ad Age, which first reported the Obama campaign ad buy, said "the last network TV spot apparently was a single multi-minute ad Republican Bob Dole ran in 1996."

Brian Stelter - Obama Bets $5 Million on Olympic Viewers NYT 23 Jul 08

How 'bout that.  A 50-state strategy you can believe in.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-07-23 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

well he has made at least one unusual ad buy so not too surprised at that.

by zerosumgame 2008-07-23 11:43PM | 0 recs
I have to admit

The Bob Dole reference creeped me out a bit =).

by Neef 2008-07-24 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: I have to admit

Any reference to Bob Dole creeps people out a bit.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-07-24 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

Not even the olympics can escape presidential politics. I just hope that Obama's ad will be about the movement, and the message has to be very very very positive. Else it will just be backfired.

by stevent 2008-07-23 09:35PM | 0 recs

As I posted, I can certainly see the tie-in. I just hope the O team is on the same page, thematically speaking.

by Neef 2008-07-24 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that it doesn't air after the 1000 meter race.

Think about it.

by Jess81 2008-07-24 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The 2008 Olympics, brought to you by

Whoops - 4000.

by Jess81 2008-07-24 05:20AM | 0 recs
Ok, I'm lame...why? n/t

by Neef 2008-07-24 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, I'm lame...why? n/t

It's a lame joke - the 4000 meter is always won by a Kenyan.  You'd have that country's national anthem seguing into Obama's commercial, and SoCalDarling's head would explode.

by Jess81 2008-07-24 09:02AM | 0 recs

I'd have missed it, but yeah...someone would have caught it =)

by Neef 2008-07-24 09:32AM | 0 recs
BOYCOTT The 2008 Olympics

As long as he doesn't buy ads in China itself, I am fine with it.

I urge everyone who is not connected with the athletes(Carter's 1980 boycott was a really unfair move for the athletes) to not give in to the temptation and visit China during the Olympics. The event is going to be primarily a vehicle for Chinese propaganda. Hotels are not getting filled up and so they may try to entice foreign travelers with some discounts. Don't fall for it.

by Pravin 2008-07-24 12:58PM | 0 recs


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