Politico

Trump reboots TV ad strategy with focus on early-voting states


President Donald Trump’s campaign is reorienting its summer TV advertising strategy to focus on states that will begin voting sooner than others, after the reelection went dark on TV in an unusual move this week, leaving the airwaves to Joe Biden.

Trump’s campaign will begin running ads Monday in a cluster of states ahead of the early voting period. The move represents a shift for the campaign, which for months has been spending heavily in a wide array of battlegrounds. Bill Stepien, Trump’s newly appointed campaign manager, has spent recent days re-evaluating the advertising strategy as the president gears up for the final three months of the election.

Trump previewed the forthcoming offensive in a Friday afternoon tweet, writing: “We are doing a new ad campaign on Sleepy Joe Biden that will be out on Monday. He has been brought even further LEFT than Crazy Bernie Sanders ever thought possible.”

Trump advisers declined to specify which states the ads would be focused on, but there are several key battlegrounds at the front of the early voting calendar. Either in-person or mail-in voting will begin in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania by the end of September.

The commercials will also be backed by a national ad buy on cable and broadcast, Trump advisers said.

The move comes at a pivotal moment for the president, who finds himself trailing Biden across the electoral map.

Stepien has been undertaking a broader review of the campaign’s operation, including its budgeting and hiring. There has been a focus on TV buying, which comprises a substantial portion of any presidential campaign’s overall spending.

“Everything on the campaign needs to be purpose driven and goal-oriented — that goes for the political operation, the communications operation, and most importantly ad buying,” Stepien said in a Thursday interview. “It would be malpractice if we didn’t reexamine that we are spending money in the right places on the right message.”

“We are making the decision to use the right data to make the right political and spending decisions by way of our advertising,” he added.

The reelection effort has spent nearly $94 million on TV ads so far this year and has another $146 million booked through Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics.

The new commercials are expected to echo by-now familiar themes, casting Biden as a Washington insider who is beholden to liberals.

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