- An analysis by NBC News and Advertising Analytics has found that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is outspending Republican candidate Donald Trump on advertising: $52 million to $0.
- Trump’s campaign is largely eschewing ad spending, with his only ads being run by third-party groups. Trump has yet to spend any campaign funds on advertising.
- Outside pro-Clinton groups have spent about $37 million while outside pro-Trump groups have spent about $8 million. The Trump campaign is even being outspent by the Green and Libertarian party candidates in the race.
Spending on TV advertising is a staple of political campaigns, but the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns are a case study in two very different approaches to marketing the candidates.
Throughout the entire campaign cycle dating all the way back to the earliest days of the primaries, Donald Trump has primarily relied on brand recognition and earned media. Clinton has run a far more traditional campaign, with robust ad spending on TV and other channels.
Now that the campaigns have moved into the final stages of the election cycle, Clinton is keeping to that strategy with a combination of campaign-funded advertising, bolstered by additional ad spending coming in from outside groups like Priorities USA Action, Vote Vets and Women Vote!.
Political advertising is very different from brand marketing, but the advertising strategies of the two campaigns pit the value of paid media against earned media. Trump's earned media is a mixed bag at best. While he receives a lot of attention from the media, it's mostly not positive — something that Trump himself frequently notes on social media and in his speeches.
Given some of the recent coverage of Trump, does the old adage about any publicity being good publicity still hold true? And when earned media turns against a brand, should that brand counteract the narrative with paid media? Time will tell if his campaign decides to change course and use paid media to gain greater control over the message that potential voters are hearing on TV and other channels.