Most candidates who are running in smaller local elections simply aren’t going to have the budget to buy professional political campaign television commercials . . . nor would it be a smart purchase if they could afford it in the first place. If you’re a city council or mayoral candidate, then most cable, satellite or local station TV commercials would be a big waste of money.
The reason why is pretty simple: television political campaign commercials are very expensive because they are broadcast across a very large viewership that sometimes numbers in the hundreds of thousands. If you’re a local candidate, then it’s likely that a large percentage of those viewers won’t even live in your district. Since the majority of the commercial audience can’t even vote for you, then it equates to a huge waste of money for your political campaign.
Local elections in large cities or counties, however, can benefit from commercials if the broadcast area is contained within your district. If you’re interested in purchasing political campaign commercial time in your area, it’s best to contact your local cable stations and ask to meet with a representative who can provide you with pricing information.
Many local cable or television stations offer special election season rates for political campaign candidate commercials. Additionally, cable stations frequently allow you to choose a package of channels where your commercial will appear, so you can focus your advertising on more specific demographics. A lot of local election candidates choose to run their campaign commercials on local and national cable news stations, since viewers who are interested in the news are usually more reliable voters.
The process of producing a political campaign commercial has become more affordable in recent years, since video recording and editing equipment has become less expensive and easier to use. I don’t suggest filming and editing your own commercial unless you have the right experience and equipment, but you should be able to find local options that are both cheap and professional.
Just like any other form of mass media advertising, don’t dedicate too much of your political campaign budget toward political candidate television commercials. While they can be moderately effective and help improve your name recognition and messaging, you can’t win a local election on commercials alone.
Grassroots efforts, direct mail, door-to-door efforts and other forms of advertising are all equally important aspects of a winning political campaign.