The Obama campaign was “terrified” that the Citizens United ruling would mean they would be outspent two-to-one on TV ads in 2012, according to Larry Grisolano, whose firm, AKPD Message and Media, led the president’s media effort last cycle.
The Obama camp was able to compensate for the deficit — which ended up being about $100 million in favor of Romney — by targeting voters it deemed persuadable, who in most cases were watching “reruns.”
“We bought 89 different, unique cable networks,” Grisolano said Wednesday at C&E’s CampaignTech East. “The Romney campaign bought five.”
There were about 1.2 million ads run in 2012 presidential election.
“There were some markets, Roanoke, [Va.] sticks out, that in October of 2012 each side had more than 5,000 points up on the air, which is utterly ridiculous overkill,” said Grisolano. “There’s certainly diminishing returns.”
It’s been difficult to scale the level of targeting the Obama campaign did to down ballot-ballot races. But Grisolano, who noted that down ballot races often have target universes of 15-20 percent of voters, said that television might not be the best medium for those races.
“Direct mail is very well suited to this,” he said. “It’s easy in a down ballot race because you’re only talking to people in direct mail.”
Asked about the blanket targeting of direct mail, Grisolano said it’s the most efficient way. “It’s frequently cheaper to hit everybody in that group than it is to try and weed out another three, four, five percent,” he said.