When NOT to Air Political Ads on TV

Maury Povich. (Screengrab/YouTube)
Maury Povich. (Screengrab/YouTube)
Posted September 23, 2014 at 2:00pm

No matter how cluttered the airwaves become this fall with political ads, there are some television shows during which campaign operatives don’t dare air their spots.  

Earlier this week, Roll Call detailed campaigns’ favorite shows and programs  to buy political ad time. Here’s a look at the handful of shows political operatives avoid for a variety of reasons.  

Jerry Springer. (Screengrab/YouTube)

“The Maury Show”/”The Jerry Springer Show” Trash and politics don’t mix. Or as Ondine Fortune, a Democratic media buyer said, “You’re watching it and these people are screaming and yelling at each other about a baby daddy, and I don’t want my handsome congressman coming on next about how he’s making a difference.”  

“It just seems those people who are sitting there watching this crap … are they really who I want to reach?” she added.  

Dora the Explorer. (Screengrab/YouTube)

Nickelodeon A surprising amount of women watch the children’s network with their kids, according to interviews with media buyers. By the numbers, it would be an obvious choice. But buyers beg off the channel because political commercials — especially attack ads — just don’t flow well with Fruit Roll-Up and My Little Pony pitches.  

Judge Judy. (Screengrab/YouTube)

“Judge Judy,” et al. Daytime court shows attract seniors — a desirable voting demographic — but one GOP media buyer compared such shows to the Maury Povich/Jerry Springer dynamic. In other words, campaigns are not inclined to see their candidates appear in ads next to people willing to display and argue about their private lives on live television. 

“We buy on them holding our nose a little bit,” the Republican said. “You wouldn’t want to be in there every day of the week.”

Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer.” (Screengrab/YouTube)

Comedy Central/Spike TV

At least one Republican said he steers clear of Comedy Central, Spike and cable channels with similarly racy and edgy programming.

Media buyers say they have less control in cable when purchasing for specific shows. Campaigns are reluctant to risk seeing their candidate appear on programs that push the envelope.


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