Americans for Prosperity, a group linked to conservative businessmen the Koch brothers, has spent at least $1.3 million on digital ads to fight President Barack Obama in the last two weeks. The organization has bought ads from Google, on streaming music site Pandora, and is running today's Promoted Trend on Twitter.
Despite using today's Promoted #FailingAgenda trending topic to attack President Barack Obama, the tag is getting a lot of action in tweets that oppose Mitt Romney and Republicans. In fact, some Twitter users have referred to the #FailingAgenda ad as one purchased by the Romney campaign itself.
The group changed its paid trend term to #16TrillionFail this afternoon, referring to the latest federal debt tally, which has reached over $16 trillion.
The Republican National Committee is also pushing the "fail" agenda today. The party is running ads adjacent to Obama campaign ads on CharlotteObserver.com, in conjunction with this week's Democratic National Convention in the North Carolina city.
I can't be the only one to notice irony of Romney spending money promoting #failingagenda hashtag and the whole thing backfiring horribly— Ned Hartley (@NedHartley) September 5, 2012
Americans for Prosperity has spent around $600,000 on Google ads since late August according to Federal Election Commission filings analyzed by ClickZ. Another $250,000 has gone to Pandora for in-stream audio ads, which can be aimed at people based on their location or the types of music they're listening to, or both. Early on in the 2012 election cycle failed GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry used Pandora ads to aim a faith-oriented message at Iowans listening to country, holiday, Christian and 80s music, for example.
AOL, AdTegrity.com and Target Enterprises are also recipients of Americans for Prosperity cash over the last couple weeks. The online ad buys are a drop in the bucket compared to what AFP has spent on TV ads since late August - around $57 million according to ClickZ's analysis of its FEC filings.
The RNC bought yesterday's Promoted Trend to push its #AreYouBetterOff tag, while Romney's campaign was the first presidential campaign ever to use the ad unit last week to promote its #BelieveInAmerica hashtag.
It's unclear how much AFP or the others paid for the Promoted Trend, though ClickZ has reported in the past that the ad costs around $120,000 for the day. AFP did not respond to an interview request for this story.
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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.
March 19, 2014