Hillary’s ad blitz and the defining of Trump

North Carolina is a battleground state.  At 9:03 this morning I saw my fist Hillary ad.  It ran on one of the channels of Discovery Communications.  It was a positive ad that highlighted Hillary's work as a first lady on children's health issues.  The ads featured images of Hillary and her daughter Chelsea from the 1990s.

In 2012, the Obama campaign made two unusual moves that proved to be exceptionally smart.  The first was to advertise over the summer months, when campaign tradition said people were not yet paying attention to the upcoming elections and thus the ad dollars spent were wasted.  By breaking the rules, Obama's ads defined both his re-election message and Mitt Romney's character long before Romney was ready to reply.

The second smart move was to place much of their advertising not in the traditional ad wells around TV news and public affairs programs, but on those channels that viewers who wish to avoid politics often gravitate toward.  It is a truism in traditional advertising circles that the programming content should always support the content of the ads, hence beer ads around football games, breakfast cereal ads around children's programming, and appliance or hardware ads around home improvement shows.  What Obama's 2012 efforts showed was that while potential voters may be temporarily aggravated to find political ads embedded around their favorite cooking shows, true crime docudramas, or classic TV reruns, they did hear the message and acted on it. 

This June, Hillary was already on the air in eight battleground states with $26 million in ads.  According to NBC news, this is part of the $140 million in ads that have already been booked.  And like Obama, she is advertising around non-political programming.

Trump has committed to zero, zilch, nada in such ads.  Indeed, his campaign's financial wherewithal to do any advertising remains in doubt pending the next round of financial reports. 

NBC News reported yesterday that one week after Trump’s announcement that he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his presidential campaign, the Trump campaign has not yet filed the paperwork to do so.  Until that paperwork is filed, Trump can use any donations by others to pay himself back.  Given Trump's well documented propensity to look after himself at the expense of investors, creditors, tradesmen, and employees, this delay may be a huge drag on his recent fundraising efforts among large donors. 

When I think of any statement made by Donald Trump about any topic, I am reminded of the Russian proverb Ronald Reagan often used when dealing with Soviet leaders.  Doveryai, no proveryai.  Trust, but verify,