By Grace Briscoe Nov 26 2012

Issue Ads to Go into Overdrive: Post-Election Advertising

(AdWeek.com) – So long, Mitt. Hello, “Got Debt?”

Spoofs of landmark ads are part of a new campaign from the Fix the Debt group, and they are the tip of a tsunami of legislative-issue messaging that’s expected to emerge in the coming weeks and months.

For those thinking that the end of the election meant the end of political ads, think again. In fact, issue advertising during nonelection years has been growing at double-digit rates. Spending on issue ads is forecast to hit $2 billion in 2013, topping the $1.63 billion spent in this election year and up 87 percent from the $1.07 billion spent in 2009, per Borrell Associates.

A barometer reading from media companies indicates that although there hasn’t been much issue spending since the elections, a groundswell is expected to materialize now that Congress is back in business.

Not only have issue ads become a bona fide ad category in the off election years, but also the category is evolving in two other ways, said Bruce Haynes, managing partner of Alexandria, Va.-based Purple Strategies, a public affairs and communications company. Political strategists are using more digital media than before and migrating video that was once reserved for TV across all video screens. Also, rather than just pressuring legislators in the greater Washington, D.C., area, groups with more dollars to burn are taking ad placements to the districts of congressmen whom they believe can be swayed by public pressure.

For example, Centro, a digital media logistics firm, recently worked on an issue campaign related to healthcare that targeted 28 states. It began in August and more recently heavied up its media buy, said Grace Briscoe, Centro’s director.

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