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Big Money Still Flows Into TV Ads Despite Shifting Media Landscape

A screengrab of a 'Yes on 92' ad.
A screengrab of a 'Yes on 92' ad.

This has been a record-setting year in Oregon when it comes to election spending.

A screengrab of a 'Yes on 92' ad.
A screengrab of a 'Yes on 92' ad.

A measure that would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods has eclipsed the previous mark for an Oregon initiative. And it's not the only big-bucks ballot measure this year.

So where is all that money going? The vast majority goes to television advertising.

Kari Chisholm, president of the Portland-based political consulting firm Mandate Media, said advertisers are developing a way to target political ads on a home-by-home level based on the demographic information of each individual cable subscriber.

It’s called micro-targeting but Chisholm says insiders named it something else.

A screengrab of a 'No on 92' ad.
A screengrab of a 'No on 92' ad.

"We call it ‘creepy awesome.’ From a personal privacy standpoint, it's pretty creepy,” he admitted. “From a marketing standpoint, as an advertiser, it's pretty awesome."

Of course, that strategy is used all the time on the Internet. But the online market is still just a fraction of overall political spending.

Chisholm said television is still the most cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people. Especially older people who are more likely to vote in a mid-term.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.