These are colossal numbers. More than $ 8 billion has already been spent on TV, radio and Internet spots, including more than $ 6 billion for the presidential campaign and $ 2 billion for the Senate, according to Advertising Analytics. And by Nov. 3, the total is expected to reach $ 10.8 billion, or double 2016, according to Center for Responsive Politics estimates.
Joe Biden dominates the airwaves. For months, he has spent twice as much as his rival. First, because he has a lot more money on hand. Secondly, because it is its main tool for reaching voters since it has limited its public interventions. He even bought advertising space while televising baseball and football games, which are usually very expensive. Donald Trump relies more on large meetings and, due to a tighter budget, mostly targets digital ads.
Like every four years, it’s a relentless hype on the screens, especially in the key states, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina… The demand is such that YouTube no longer has a pixel of advertising space available. Does such an avalanche of advertisements still have an impact? If yes which ? This is the eternal question. But whatever, the candidates continue to multiply the very targeted spots.
Trump: “Me or chaos”
Donald Trump’s ads, like his speeches, are on the whole grim and negative, portraying an apocalyptic future if Joe Biden is elected. The Democrat is a puppet of the leftists, who will bring the country to its knees economically, eliminate the police and encourage disorder. “Break In,” a thriller imitation shows an elderly lady calling 911 because a burglar is breaking into her home. But in response, she has a record where she is told to leave a message. “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” the ad concludes. This is both terrifying and false: Biden is hostile to cutting police budgets. Donald Trump also tried to paint his rival as a senile old man. In a spot designed like a horror movie trailer with scary music, a montage of clips shows him as if he is no longer in his mind.
Joe Biden, he plays the optimistic card and a bit nostalgic for America, with pretty images of wheat fields, smiling factory workers, kids playing… “Go from There” is narrated by the unforgettable deep voice of actor Sam Elliott. “There is only one America. There are no Republican rivers. There are no democratic mountains. It’s just a beautiful country, ”he sings against the backdrop of images of idyllic landscapes. The Democrat also places great emphasis on the topic of the pandemic and its effect on health, with testimony from ordinary Americans recounting their problems. But his best ad, by far, is a very short spot from a Donald Trump election rally in which the outgoing president says he is shocked, in case of defeat, to have been beaten by such a guy, “the worst candidate in the history of the presidential elections ”. He adds: “If I lose to him, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I will never speak to you again… You will never see me again. “As required by law, the ad ends with the candidate’s voice:” I am Joe Biden and I approve of this message. ”
This year, Democrats have the backing of the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republican strategists who specialize in fierce commercials. The most famous, “America in mourning” (Mourning in America), is a parody of a popular Ronald Reagan ad for his 1984 re-election campaign titled “Morning in America”. The syrupy spot praised the president and his economy by showing a country with a bright future.
“Mourning in America” is a bit more negative… Images of abandoned houses and factories parade as a grim voiceover recites that the economy is in ruins, millions of people are unemployed, thousands others are sick with Covid… “Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker, sicker, poorer,” she concludes. The spot had at least an impact on one individual, the president, who sent out a flurry of angry tweets.
Candidates for Congress are also hammering out dark themes. Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting to eliminate police budgets with images of thugs and protests. “If the Democrats win, the scum wins,” says an Iowa ad. Democrats attack on health and the fact that Republicans continue to do everything to dismantle Obamacare. This theme allowed them to win the midterms in 2018, and the importance of health insurance is even more central during a pandemic.
Enemies … friends
Usually, American pubs are often creative and funny. But this year, perhaps because of the weather, they are rarely fun. One of the few to have tried humor is Kelly Loeffler, the outgoing senator from Georgia. “Did you know Kelly Loeffler tops the list of most conservative senators in America?” »Declares a lady to her husband. “Yeah, she’s more conservative than Attila the Hun,” he replies. The camera then switches to a kind of cartoon scene where we see a supposed Attila who looks more like Jacquouille la Fripouille in visitors than to a barbarian leader. He growls incomprehensible words to his scribe: “Fight China”, “Limit the size of the government” … Critics have pointed out that the senator had undoubtedly confused Attila and Genghis Khan.
Fortunately, there is always Montana or Alaska to produce picturesque candidates. One of them filmed on his boat mentions in his bio that he killed a grizzly in self-defense. Kathleen Williams, a Democrat running for a House seat, ran a commercial where she is seen fishing a river, shooting a clay pigeon and ending with a beer in a bar, while expressing her admiration for Ronald Reagan , yet not very left. His message? In Montana, we do not follow the directions of Washington, “we do things our way”.
The prize for originality goes to two rival candidates for the post of governor of Utah who have done a series of commercials… together! The Republican and the Democrat explain that they have divergent positions on a number of subjects, but that they are hostile to negative campaigns and support civility and a peaceful transition of power. What’s the point ? Not clear. The Republican is sure to win in this very conservative state. Maybe it’s because they’re both Mormons!