Monday, March 31, 2008

_OTE _OR _E!!

So let's pretend for a minute that you're managing the media buys for one of the major presidential campaigns. Where are you going to get the most bang for your buck? Where can you find the most voters, the ripest bunch of Americans who need to see your candidate's ad (or "learn" something about your opponent, courtesy of your candidate)?

Would you believe:

"WHEEL!!! ... OF!!! ... FORTUNE!!!!"

Yes, it's true; CNN reports that Pat Sajak and Vanna White's show has drawn more presidential campaign advertising -- more than $2 million so far -- than any other individual television program, according to the TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group (thankfully, just CMAG for short).

"Wheel" spending breaks down like this:

Barack Obama: $1 million
Hillary Clinton: $815,000
John McCain: $168,000

"Wheel" is "inexpensive but also efficient," because it typically follows the news and leads into prime time, CMAG CEO Evan Tracey explained.

Wait a minute ... I see an opportunity here. In honor of the show's 25th anniversary and in recognition of this story, how about a big-time, prime-time candidate showdown ... not on some boring debate stage, but AROUND THE WHEEL!! Let's have "Wheel of Fortune - I Want to be President Edition!" Let America see who's got (Theme: movie title)

T _ E R _ G _ T _ T U _ _ !!

Come on, Wheel execs!! Make it happen!!
Close on the heels of "Wheel" is "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Oprah herself might have endorsed Obama last year, but Clinton isn't giving up the talk show queen's demographic without a fight: Clinton has bought nearly $600,000 in ads on the show compared to Obama's $974,000. (McCain has spent $185,000 on "Oprah" so far; maybe he's more of a Judge Judy kind of guy.)

But spending on these shows is dwarfed by what candidates are dropping on local news: a whopping $36.7 million combined (Clinton $17 million, Obama $16 million, McCain $4 million).

As an interesting aside, Clinton also spent big on NBC's "Today Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America." Obama's top five television programs in terms of ad spending were rounded out by "Today" and the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," while McCain also spent big on the syndicated show "Jeopardy," and NBC's "Deal or No Deal."

SIDEBAR: I would advise any presidential candidate to stay away from advertising on a program called "Deal or No Deal." It just doesn't bode well. END SIDEBAR
Figure out the puzzles and write in your answers in comments!