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McCain Pushed Iran Issue in June Web Ads

  |  July 31, 2008   |  Comments

Looking ahead to Iran nuclear talks, John McCain's campaign ran millions of display ads featuring images of Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Democratic Senator.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgLooking ahead to Iran nuclear talks and Barack Obama's whistle-stop Mid-east tour, John McCain's campaign ran millions of Web ads in June featuring close-ups of Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Democratic Senator. While McCain continued running new and well-worn issue-based ads, Obama seemed to focus entirely on prompting supporters to join the campaign. Both camps, however, targeted ads to voters in big battleground states including Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin.

"Is It OK to Meet Unconditionally with Anti-American Foreign Leaders?" inquired the McCain ad served up most often in June, according to Nielsen Online's AdRelevance. More than 9 million of the display ads showed up on the Web; that's over half of the ads placed by McCain's team. The ads include a photo of Obama beside one of Iran's outspoken leader, and allude to Obama's statement made last year noting he would negotiate with Iran without conditions.

As in recent months, the Obama camp flooded the Internet with more than 80 million display ads in June, far more than the 16.2 million placed for McCain.

Unlike previous months when his campaign placed some issue and persuasion-based ads on the Web targeting specific primary states, Obama's campaign shifted back entirely to its older focus aimed solely at driving signups from supporters. Those, like McCain's ads, were intended to garner signups, and in turn, donations through e-mail solicitations.



Ad images provided by The Media Trust Company
McCain's campaign, on the other hand, has created more and more ads not only intended to get people to register their contact information, but to demonstrate the Arizona Republican's stances on issues such as security, the economy, judges, and gas prices. Another distinct difference: While nearly all of Obama's display ads prominently feature the candidate's image, several of McCain's make no mention of him other than to note that they're paid for by the campaign in small print. Instead they feature anything from googley-eyed peanuts to a black bear to a thief dressed in a stereotypical black mask and knit cap.

"Are you being Robbed at the pump?" asks the newest ad featuring a crook clutching a gas pump. The ad prompts viewers to click and "Take the Survey," the goal being to get people to sign up to receive e-mails and other notices from the campaign.

Several of McCain's ads seen online this Spring used the rising cost of gas as a theme. Obama and McCain differ on the best ways to assuage skyrocketing fuel costs; McCain is for a gas tax moratorium while Obama is not, for instance. Ads placed by the McCain camp in May and June poked fun at gas station prices that cost an arm and a leg, and urged people to "Support John McCain's Moratorium."

All of Obama's ads spotted by AdRelevance had been seen for months, and the bulk of them suggested voters "Visit the Official Campaign Website" and "Join Us." The Democratic National Committee also ran ads in support of Obama, pushing people to "Stop John McCain" by donating $25 and asking them to give cash to help fund airing of anti-McCain TV spots.



Ad images provided by The Media Trust Company
Millions of Obama for America ads showed up on Yahoo and MSN, most likely employing demographic, geographic or possibly behavioral targeting. Several others appeared on CNN, Politico, CNBC, New York Times and HuffingtonPost.com, according to AdRelevance. McCain's ads were also found in places they've been seen before, including Topix, Lucianne.com, and National Review.

Both candidates' ads appeared on social networking sites, too. McCain's were caught on MySpace, and Obama's were spotted on MySpace, Facebook, and Latino community site MiGente.com. The Obama camp has emphasized reaching Latino voters on MiGente and African-Americans through BlackPlanet.com, both of which are published by Community Connect.

They each also ran ads on news sites based in important battleground states. The Obama camp aimed ads at voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio on sites such as Philly.com, Cincinnati.com, St. Petersburg Times-affiliated TampaBay.com, Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette.com and Madison's Channel3000. McCain's ads were also seen on the St. Petersburg Times site, Channel3000, in addition to PittsburghLive.com.

June 2008 Ads by
Democratic National Committee
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"President Bush has talked about us staying in Iraq for 50 years, 100 years in Iraq, Is John McCain the Right Choice for America's Future? Help us air this television ad" "Donate Today!" 5,115,000
"Don't Give Bush a 3rd Term Stop John McCain" "Donate $25 Now" 1,899,000
"Help Elect a Democratic President" "Donate $25 Now" 4,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2008

June 2008 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Is It OK to Meet Unconditionally with Anti-American Foreign Leaders?" " Yes, No " 9,232,000
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join Our Team" 3,066,000
"Support a leader we can believe in. John McCain." "Join Our Team" 1,345,000
Gas Prices Too High? Gasoline [prices] Arm Leg First Born Support John McCain's Moratorium" "Sign the Petition." 909,000
"John McCain supports judges who will properly interpret the Constitution and not legislate social policy from the bench" "Do You: Agree, Disagree" 411,000
"John McCain Invest in Victory" "Donate $25" 342,000
"Three million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that's a paternity issue or a criminal issue." "Stop Pork Barrel Spending Sign the Petition" 208,000
"Who do you trust to protect America? John McCain for President." "Join the Team" 101,000
"McCainomics? John McCain's Economic Plan" "Learn More" 122,000
"You Need Help John McCain's Economic Plan Immediate Help for American Families" "Learn More" 116,000
"You Earned It Shouldn't You Keep It? Immediate Economic Help John McCain's Economic Plan." "Learn More" 77,000
"Are you being Robbed at the pump?" "Take the Survey" 111,000
"Barack Obama picks up another major endorsement. Fidel Castro thinks he is 'the most advanced candidate' " "Learn More" 64,000
"Courageous Service. Experienced Leadership. Bold Solutions. Watch Courageous Service Video. "Play Video" 30,000
"$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! Outraged by Pork?" "Sign the Petition" 26,000

Select June 2008 Ads by
Obama for America
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Obama '08 Visit the Official Campaign Website" "Join Us" 31,055,000
"Change We Can Believe In Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States Visit the Official Campaign Website" "Join Us" 12,395,000
"Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 14,712,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 15,652,000
"Let's unite for our common purpose. Help Elect Barack Obama President." "Join Us" 1,908,000
"Let's unite in common effort to achieve our greatest hopes and highest aspirations. Help Elect Barack Obama President." "Join Us" 1,538,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President. Visit the Official Campaign Website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events." "Join Us" 1,528,000
"Obama '08 Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events." "Join Us" 412,000
"Change We Can Believe In. Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 293,000
"Change We Can Believe In. Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events." "Join Us" 258,000
"Meet Barack Obama. Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 170,000
"Obama '08. Visit the Official Campaign Website." n/a 25,000
"Obama '08. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 17,000
"Get to know Barack Obama at local campaign events." "Join Us" 11,000
"Meet Barack Obama. Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 9,000

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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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