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2012 ad blitz: big money, smaller audience

November 5, 2012 • Business


A woman holds a U.S. flag as she and others listen to a speech by Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, during a campaign rally in Greenwood Village, Colo. in south Denver on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

WASHINGTON (AP) — One million ads. More than $1 billion. Ten battleground states.

Those eye-popping figures tell the story of the 2012 presidential campaign TV ad blitz — never before has so much money been spent on so many commercials aimed at so few voters.

Television ads were the primary communications tool for the campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, despite the gradual but persistent shift of viewers from television to the Internet.

While both teams maintained a robust social media presence and used online ads for micro-targeting voters based on their reading and shopping habits, nothing came close to the campaigns’ investment in the kind of 30- and 60-second TV spots that have defined presidential campaigns for nearly half a century.

“The decline of television advertising hasn’t happened, and it’s not going away anytime soon,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, director of the Wesleyan University Media Project which tracks campaign advertising. “TV is where Login to read more

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