Biden announces $280 million spend on ads in largest ever commercial buy by a presidential candidate

James Crump
·3-min read
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Centre, on 28 July 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware: (2020 Getty Images)
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Centre, on 28 July 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware: (2020 Getty Images)

Joe Biden‘s campaign has announced what it says is the largest ever ad buy by a presidential candidate, with $280m (£213.1m) set to be spent on television and digital commercials.

On Wednesday, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign team announced that $220m (£167.5m) will be spent on television ads, while $60m (£45.6m) will be allocated for commercials on digital, social media and video game platforms.

The campaign is aiming to advertise on television in 15 different states with commercials criticising Donald Trump‘s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump’s response to the pandemic has been widely criticised, and the new ads from Mr Biden will focus on the economic consequences of the outbreak.

Some of the ads will air during sporting events, while others will show when residents of the 15 states are playing a video game, waiting to watch a video on Vevo or listening to a podcast, according to CBS News.

The ads will be 60 seconds long, which is a shift from the usual 30 seconds for a political commercial, in order to give US voters a “fuller, clearer message”, according to one of Mr Biden’s strategists Mike Donilion.

Two thirds of the adverts will target states that Mr Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, including Texas, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Iowa and Ohio are also being targeted, after being won by Mr Trump in 2016, following two successive Democratic victories by former president Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

The ad buy also includes Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia, all of which were won by 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton four years ago.

Mr Donilion told reporters from outlets such as CNN and CBS during a call on Wednesday morning that the ads will give US citizens the chance to “hear directly from the vice president in his own voice, speaking to this moment that we’re in”.

He added In a memo sent out after the call that “our path to victory is one of addition — competing in more states and speaking to a wider share of the electorate.

“This falls in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s paid media programme, which has driven a negative message of division and invested the majority of their resources into a smaller subset of states.”

A recent set of television and radio commercials by the Trump campaign in Florida reignited a controversy surrounding Goya Foods after they released a group of Spanish-language clips that referenced a boycott against the brand led by Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, following the brand’s owner meeting with the president.

The ads were created to highlight the “Democrats’ shameful smear campaign against Goya Foods, a beloved Hispanic-owned family business,” the Trump campaign announced, and included claims that “Joe Biden and the Democrats are too extreme.”

After Bill Stepien recently replaced Brad Parscale as the campaign’s manager, ads for the president stopped for six days, but resumed this week in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.

According to CBS News, the Trump campaign has $147.7m (£112.4m) reserved for television ads that will be spent in 11 battleground states from September.

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