The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It's campaign season, and the sooner you know what your opponent is saying about you, the sooner you can fire back. Campaign Media Analysis Group is in the business of providing the ammo, in the form of tracking political TV ads in major metro areas across the U.S. They're so good at it that media analysis giant Neilsen figures to take several years to become competitive.

Notice that CMAG deals exclusively in television. That's because that's unquestionably the most effective ad medium for political ads (and really, most types of advertising). There's more than enough business just slicing and dicing the boob tube. Print, radio, direct mail and online are all useful in election years, and probably represent niches of analytical opportunity. But for now, television is the one that counts.

I wonder how much use CMAG gets out of DVRs in their work? You can't program them to record political ads, but obviously they can capture hours of news channel programming and other likely timeslots for political advertising. But they'd have to look well beyond that, to primetime network and all the other slots where all candidates are targeting voters. Ad coverage has to be intense, because not only are both Democrats and Republicans going after undecideds, but also pushing hard to get the people on their side to actually get to the polls and vote.