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Presidential Hopefuls Go on Attack with Most Ads Ever in October

  |  November 16, 2007   |  Comments

UPDATE: More so than in any other month, candidates went on the attack, and ran a total of nearly 65 million ad impressions in October, according to Nielsen Online AdRelevance.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgCandidates ran more display ads in October than they have in any other month since the beginning of the 2008 presidential election season. Four Republican and two Democratic campaigns ran a total of nearly 65 million ad impressions. And more so than in any other month, recognizing the Iowa caucuses and early primaries are creeping ever closer, candidates went on the attack.

While Republicans took aim inside and outside their party, the two Democratic campaigns running display ads in October according to Nielsen Online AdRelevance, Obama For President and Edwards for President, stuck with positive, issue-free messages.

In ads run solely on FoxNews.com, Republican hopeful Fred Thompson questioned the pro-life stance of fellow GOP candidate Mitt Romney and took aim at Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice position. Ads culminated with Thompson's stern visage placed beside the phrase, "Support the real conservative." Fred Thompson '08 ran 651,000 display ad impressions last month, as tracked by AdRelevance.

The former Tennessee Senator's campaign employed the same anti-Romney/Giuliani tactic in right-wing blog ads launched in October; though those were not picked up by AdRelevance.

A grinning, sunflower-adorned Hillary Clinton flashes the peace sign in one banner placed by Republican Senator John McCain's campaign. It reads, "1 million for a Woodstock Museum? Not so groovy man." The ad's message mirrors one used in McCain TV spots, alluding to the Democratic Senator's proposal to fund a museum in Woodstock, NY commemorating the legendary 1969 concert event. Supported by other online campaign creative placed by John McCain 2008, the ads display the Vietnam vet as a tough foil to a hippie-fied Hillary.

The McCain campaign ran the most ad impressions of any other presidential campaign in October, nearly 41 million, according to AdRelevance.

Despite a continued push to display McCain as a strong leader, his campaign appears to have lessened its focus in October on the Iraq War-related "No Surrender" message prevalent in previous months. The campaign also jabs other GOP candidates Thompson, Romney, and Giuliani, using their own words of praise for McCain against them.

Leading the attack-mode pack, some McCain ads also featured close-ups of Clinton and Democratic Senator Barack Obama, and inquired, "Who do you trust to Protect America?"

Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat John Edwards both focused on "change" as an online ad campaign theme. "Join the campaign to change America," said ads for John Edwards 08, which were seen exclusively on MySpace, according to AdRelevance. The ad measurement service reported Edwards for President ran a total of 171,000 display impressions last month.

Keeping with messaging used in September, Romney ads suggested, "Republicans Have to Get Our Own House in Order," and featured the "Change Begins with us," tagline. Romney's campaign, which ran 13.6 million display impressions last month according to AdRelevance, pushed for donations with a "Project 44" theme urging supporters to "Donate $44 for the future 44th president."

Romney for President also ran contextually-targeted video overlay ads using ScanScout's content-scanning technology in October, though they were not reported by AdRelevance.

Obama refrained from issue-based messaging in display ads in October, according to the measurement firm. Instead Obama '08 encouraged voters to join the campaign and attend local appearances of the notoriously charismatic orator. AdRelevance showed the campaign ran about 11 million impressions, primarily on Yahoo, MSN and HuffingtonPost.com.

However, as reported by ClickZ News, Obama ads also showed up on Community Connect's niche ethnic and interest group social sites including BlackPlanet and MiGente.Those ads drove users to Obama profile pages which tailored issue-based messaging to specific groups such as Latinos and Asians.

Americans United for Freedom PAC placed 12,000 ads exclusively on Drudge Report endorsing Republican Congressman Ron Paul. The ads touted the Libertarian-minded Paul as "The Real Conservative" and "Champion of the Constitution."

UPDATE: This story was corrected to reflect the fact that Americans United for Freedom PAC placed ads supporting Ron Paul, not the Republican Congressman's presidential campaign, as originally reported.

October 2007 Ads by
John Edwards 08
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Site
"Join the campaign to change America." "Join Senator John Edwards at www.JohnEdwards.com" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 171,000 MySpace
Source: Nielsen Online AdRelevance, 2007

edwards_changeamerica.jpg

October 2007 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
"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." 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 120x600 Skyscraper, 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 468x60 Full Banner 19,657,000 Advertising.com, MSN
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join Our Team" 728x90 Leaderboard, 468x60 Full Banner, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 120x600 Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 9,811,000 MSN, Right Media, Advertising.com, Specific Media
$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! Outraged by Pork? "Sign the Petition" 728x90 Leaderboard, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 4,521,000 Right Media, specific Media
"Who do you trust to protect America? John McCain for President." "Join The Team" 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 468x60 Full Banner, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 3,716,000 MSN, Right Media, Advertising.com
"Who do you trust to protect America?" "Clinton McCain Obama" [multiple choice] 728x90 Leaderboard 2,238,000 Advertising.com
" 'If I wasn't running I'd probably be supporting him for President.' - Rudy Giuliani 9/5/07. 'John McCain has shown the characteristics of leadership like no one else that I've ever seen.' Fred Thompson - 8/19/99 "[John McCain's] a great man.' - Mitt Romney 3/17/06. At Least They Agree On Something. John McCain For President" "Donate Now" 728x90 Leaderboard, 468x60 Full Banner, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 1,209,000 MSN, Advertising.com
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join The Team Today" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 309,000 n/a
"1 million for a Woodstock Museum? not so groovy man" "Watch Video" 728x90 Leaderboard 89,000 MSN
"McCain Beats Clinton Read All About It!" "Click Here" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 15,000 Right Media
"Surrender Is Not An Option." "Sign the Petition" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 10,000 Valueclick
"Is This The Future You Want? Make Sure It Doesn't Happen!" "Click Here" non-standard 3,000 n/a
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

Top October 2007 Sites and Impressions for
John McCain 08
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
Yahoo Sports 13,903,000
Yahoo Mail 5,529,000
Excite Email 3,287,000
Excite Homepage 2,930,000
MSNBC 1,988,000
Yahoo 1,289,000
iWon Email 1,183,000
Excite News 1,105,000
Yahoo Address Book 1,004,000
Excite 852,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

mccain_bear.jpg

October 2007 Ads by
Obama for America
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions
"Meet Barack Obama. Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 120x600 Skyscraper, 728x90 Leaderboard 3,650,000
"Show your Support. Attend Local Campaign Events." "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 2,712,000
"Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 1,595,000
"Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 1,460,000
n/a "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 180x150 Rectangle 1,209,000
"Get to Know Barack Obama. Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard 436,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

Top October 2007 Sites and Impressions for
Obama for America
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
Yahoo Sports 3,841,000
HuffingtonPost.com 2,109,000
Yahoo Address Book 1,608,000
Yahoo Calendar 892,000
MSNBC 831,000
MSN Encarta 457,000
Yahoo 416,000
Yahoo Movies 241,000
Yahoo Finance 133,000
Yahoo News 126,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

obamaforprez.jpg

October 2007 Ads by
Romney For President
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions
"Republicans Have to Get Our Own House in Order. Stop wasteful spending. Secure the boarders. Insist on high ethical standards. Change Begins with us. Change Washington. Mitt Romney for President. Strong. New. Leadership." "Start Now!" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 468x60 Full Banner 7,553,000
"Change Begins with Us." "Start Now!" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard, 120x600 Skyscraper, 468x60 Full Banner, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 5,921,000
"Change Begins with Us. Project 44. Donate $44 for the Future 44th President. Mitt Romney. Strong New Leadership." "Donate" 728x90 Leaderboard, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 153,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

Top October 2007 Sites and Impressions for
Romney for President
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
MSN Hotmail 5,828,000
BellSouth Internet Service 3,255,000
AOL.com AIM.com 658,000
Merriam-Webster 618,000
FOXNEWS.COM 618,000
AOL.com News 519,000
AT&T Worldnet 358,000
MSN Groups 250,000
AOL.com Mail 213,000
New York Times 187,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

romney_project44.jpg

October 2007 Ads by
Friends of Fred Thompson
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Site
"Mitt Romney 'I do not take the position of a pro-life candidate.' Rudy Giuliani 'I'm pro-choice. I'm pro-gay rights.' Fred Thompson 'I was a proud conservative yesterday, I remain one today, and will be one tomorrow.' Support the Real Conservative. Fred 08 Security. Unity. Prosperity." "Contribute." 300x250 Medium Rectangle 651,000 FoxNews.com
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

thompson.jpg

October 2007 Ads by
Americans United for Freedom PAC 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
"Congressman Ron Paul. The Real Conservative for President. The Champion of the Constitution." n/a 728x90 Leaderboard 12,000 Drudge Report
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2007

ronpaulPACad.jpg

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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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