Two Wall Street analysts point to that conclusion in reports this morning that examine the estimated $2.8B being spent on local TV this presidential election cycle from different perspectives. Only about 800,000 voters are even persuadable this year, Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker notes citing information from Kantar Media’s authoritative Campaign Media Analysis Group. Even more startling, she says, “the BEST way to reach such voters is through ‘fringe’ programs such as Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune.” Thus far the biggest surprises in the campaign have been that spending is stronger than she expected in Wisconsin, but weaker in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
Meanwhile, Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says the barrage of commercials from campaigns and Super PACs could backfire. Advertisers consider it efficient for their messages to hit a target audience about four times. But with more than $1.5B likely to be spent over eight weeks in nine battleground states, each presidential candidate could hit their targets as much as 100 times a week — “an absurd amount,” Juenger says. Here’s the thing: Nobody seems to have studied how viewers respond to ad over-kill. “Given this almost surely unprecedented saturation, it certainly is no stretch to postulate that many viewers will become disgusted,” he says. Why do it, then? “No campaign strategist ever got fired for spending too much on advertising….But you can bet there would be a lot of blame for a campaign manager who didn’t spend every penny they could, and their candidate lost.”