As Democratic Congressional leaders seem to be going down to the wire on health care reform, it is expected that organizations seeking to see reforms passed or shot down are going to flood the airwaves with advertising. Much of it will be aimed at specific members of Congress.
The battle is being waged almost entirely on the Democratic side of the aisle, since the Republicans have managed once again to stand virtually as one in opposition to HCR.
According to the New York Times, 27 Democrats who supported HCR in the past are in a group being harassed by opponents of the bill, and 13 who opposed it earlier are being harassed by progressive groups generally aligned with the Democratic Party.
It is estimated that $11M has already been spent during the month of March 2010, and the tally could be pushing $30M by 3/20/10 or so.
RBR-TVBR observation: The health care battle has dragged on for months, and has practically become an ad category in its own right. But it should come to a standstill once we know which way congressional thumbs have pointed.
The question going forward is this: Has HCR set an advertising tone for other battles, or is it a stand-out issue with peculiar characteristics that are unlikely to be repeated?
We don’t know the answer, but we suspect that it has set a tone. There have been some stakeholders involved in these air wars, but a lot of the groups that have stepped into this battle are generalists that may well step into the next ideological struggle that comes down the pike. We expect more of the same, tied to whatever the topic of the most current headlines.