McCain and Romney Simplify Ads in June, Tancredo Goes on Attack

  |  July 19, 2007   |  Comments

UPDATE: New candidate advertiser Republican Tom Tancredo ran the most display ads in June, according to AdRelevance.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgUPDATE: In November 2007, Nielsen Online AdRelevance, formerly Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, provided ClickZ News with revised data on political advertisers for the months of April through September 2007. The amended information affected several stories, including this one, published by ClickZ during that time period. Detailed corrections can be found below the following original story.*

Original Story:
Which aspiring George W. Bush replacements ran display ads online in June? Just as in May, it was all Republicans, all the time, according to Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance. This time 'round a new advertiser, Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, came up from the rear to steal the "most ad impressions" spot away from John McCain 2008.

Primary candidate Mitt Romney reduced his display ad campaign to a single creative and placed ads on just one site. And even McCain, whose campaign has run a wide variety of ad creatives on several sites in recent months, pared down creatives, media placements -- and perhaps most significant -- ad impressions, in June.

McCain's online ad impressions have dwindled from 11.5 million impressions in April, to 8.7 million in May, to a relatively conservative 92,000 in June. Some have speculated a reduction in online advertising by the campaign is a result of the Arizona Senator's reported fundraising woes, though people running Web display ads for John McCain 2008 say otherwise.

"We're just reevaluating what we're doing," said Eric Frenchman, chief Internet strategist at political consulting agency Connell Donatelli Inc., the firm handling some Internet components of the McCain campaign. The campaign has also increased its search marketing effort, noting paid search has been effective and cost-efficient. "Summer is not exactly the best time to advertise," continued Frenchman.

Evidently, new display advertiser Tancredo 08 thought differently. The campaign ran 855,000 ads in June, all on tabloid news site Drudge Report. The only ad creative it ran focused narrowly on one timely topic -- or at least implied that one topic: immigration. Just in time for a Senate vote on a divisive immigration bill considered by many Republicans to offer amnesty for illegal immigrants, Congressman Tancredo's ad demanded, "Defeat Amnesty Politicians." The ad linked to a petition declaring, "Here is my message for any politician who supports an amnesty bill: I will commit myself to working for your defeat!" It's not a stretch to consider the ad and the petition a direct attack on Tancredo's primary opponent and co-sponsor of that immigration bill, Senator McCain.

McCain's campaign reduced the variety of ads it ran, specifically cutting out tiny button units, but sticking with issue-oriented creatives focusing on the War in Iraq, pork-barrel government spending and the candidate's experience.

Opposition campaign Romney for President trimmed the four ads it ran in May to one expandable PointRoll unit featuring video, along with a registration form and links to information on issues like military support and wasteful government spending. Media buys by the former Massachusetts Governor's campaign were sliced down, also, to AOL.com News exclusively.

June 2007 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! $100 million tax dollars for citrus assistance? Orange You Outraged? $60.4 million tax dollars for salmon fisheries? Something smells fishy. Outraged by Pork?" "Take the survey" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 250x250 Square 45,000 Google, Investors
"Surrender is not an option" "Sign the Petition today" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 728x90 Leaderboard 26,000 Valueclick, Google
"America Deserves Experience. America Deserves Straight Talk. McCain." "Join John McCain" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 16,000 Google
$60.4 million tax dollars for salmon fisheries? Something smells fishy. Outraged by Pork?" "Take the survey" 728x90 Leaderboard 3,000 Investors
$60.4 million tax dollars for salmon fisheries? Something smells fishy. Outraged by Pork?" "Sign the Petition" 728x90 Leaderboard 2,000 Investors
"It's time for straight talk on spending. McCain." "Support John McCain" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 1,000 Google
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

June 2007 Sites and Impressions by
John McCain 08
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
National Review 21,000
Washington Times: Washington, DC 18,000
Blog*Spot 18,000
FARK.com 12,000
Nascar Online 4,000
CBSNews.com 4,000
sing365.com 2,000
Investors Hub 2,000
OCRegister.com: Orange Country, CA 2,000
FrontPage Magazine 2,000
HowStuffWorks 2,000
Family Education Network 2,000
WWE Superstars 1,000
TwinCities.com: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 1,000
LetsSingIt.com 1,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

mccain7.07.jpg

June 2007 Ads by
Romney For President
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
"Mitt Romney Strong. New. Leadership. Roll over to learn more & get involved." Video, Agenda (expanded to feature info on taxes, military, wasteful spending, click to donate) Expandable 728x90 Leaderboard 68,000 AOL.com News
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

June 2007 Sites and Impressions by
Romney for President
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
AOL.com News 68,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

romney7.07.jpg

June 2007 Ads by
Tancredo 08
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
"Tom Tancredo: Defeat Amnesty Politicians." "Breaking News" 336x280 Large Rectangle 855,000 Drudge Report
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

June 2007 Sites and Impressions by
Tancredo 08
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
Drudge Report 855,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

tancredo.jpg

* UPDATE: In November 2007, Nielsen Online AdRelevance, formerly Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, provided ClickZ News with revised data on political advertisers for the months of April through September 2007. Although the measurement firm originally reported the Romney, McCain and Tancredo campaigns were the sole online display advertisers in June, the company later discovered John Edwards for President ran 18,000 ad impressions on free Web site network Angelfire.

In addition, the firm found Romney's campaign ran several more ads than originally reported. The initial data set received in July showed Romney for President ran 68,000 ads on AOL. After recalibrating its tracking system, AdRelevance more recently reported the campaign ran 3.5 million ads on a variety of sites, including over 2 million on conservative news sites National Review Online, FoxNews.com, NewsMax and TownHall.com. In addition to a video-enabled ad focused on "employment verification for immigrants," the campaign ran a display ad with the slogan, "Strong Military. Strong Economy. Strong Families."

Also uncovered by AdRelevance recently were an additional 57,000 display ad impressions placed by John McCain 2008 in June on MySpace.

Information included in the original story regarding Tancredo's campaign ads is correct, according to AdRelevance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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