Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards (D-NC) took advantage of full network coverage of a speech on the Iraq war by President Bush last night, piggy-backing his own message via a two-minute ad. Edwards booked his time on cable news outlet MSNBC, and used his time to express both his disagreement with Bush, and to distance himself from other Democrats in the primary race. The spot was estimated to carry a 100K-150K price tag, but at least one media analyst said that the general buzz and straight news coverage Edwards is likely to receive could easily triple its value in terms of effectiveness. Edwards has been exploring the use of political advertising. Earlier this year, rather than touting his own presidential qualifications of presenting himself to voters in the early states, he ran advertisements in Washington urging his former colleagues in the US Senate to remain steadfast in their opposition to Bush’s Iraq policy.
RBR/TVBR observation: This really is a brilliant idea. Let President Bush turn on the spotlight and then jump in while the afterglow is still intense. If Edwards does get a big splash out of this strategy, it may lead to a lot of imitation. Demand for advertising immediately following an event of national significance occurring on a fixed schedule may put a new premium on such times, driving up rates under the influence of simple supply and demand. If we remember the ins and outs of lowest unit rate correctly, candidates are off the rate card when they specify a precise run time.