×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Advertisers Flock to Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton Presidential Debates

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aren’t the only candidates in the midst of an intense campaign.

On Monday night, as those two political operatives offer points and counter-points in the first of a series of debates between the two presidential hopefuls, web-domain service GoDaddy.com will launch an election-themed salvo of its own. In spots set to run during pre-debate coverage on CNN and post-event analysis on CBS and Fox News Channel, a person with the face of the company’s “GoDaddy Guy” will make the case to an assemblage of patriotic Americans that they are free to use the company’s services to turn their own ideas into reality. “There is no other candidate that’s more affordable,” the character says in the spot.

“This election cycle is expected to draw unprecedented audiences for the debates,” said Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “It’s a welcome opportunity.” A follow-up TV commercial from GoDaddy is slated to air in proximity to the second presidential debate in October, the company said.

The price to take part isn’t cheap – though it is considerably less dear than a Super Bowl berth (something GoDaddy once knew a lot more about). CBS is seeking between $200,000 and $225,000 for a 30-second ad during its post-debate coverage, according to Rechterman and other people familiar with the matter. The cable-news networks, meanwhile, are prodding advertisers who want to run commercials adjacent to the debate to buy larger packages of ad inventory in exchange for the access. The debates themselves run commercial free, but the networks are free to devise opportunities for content that airs prior to and after the events.

The first debate, set to air Monday, September 26, will air between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. across CBS, NBC and MSNBC, ABC, Fox and Fox News Channel, CSPAN and CNN.

Expectations among TV networks and advertisers are high for the debates. In 2012, about 67 million people tuned in to watch President Barack Obama square off against Republican contender Mitt Romney in the first debate of that cycle. Given the outsize attention being paid to this year’s race, media buyers are estimating total viewership may be even higher.  Fox News Channel delivered 24 million viewers last August for the very first primary debate, setting an all-time record for the highest-rated non-sports program on basic cable.

NBC is sold out of ad inventory for its debate coverage and its sister outlet, MSNBC, is nearly sold out, according to a person familiar with the situation.  CBS also has full support from advertisers for the event, a person familiar with the network said, and is seeing stronger demand from automobile marketers, movie studios, pharmaceutical manufacturers and technology advertisers than it did in 2012.

GoDaddy has a lot of experience talking to some of TV’s biggest crowds, yet recently turned away from one of the medium’s largest. Super Bowl 50 was the first gridiron classic not to contain a commercial from the Scottsdale, Arizona company since 2005. Now, said Rechterman, the web-services company sees the coming debate as a chance to get its name out in much the same way the football game does.

The company needs to do a mix of different kinds of advertising, she said, using some of the broad-reach variety and some that aims for specific groups of consumers. “We are going to use this election season to get a lot of reach, and then understand that we are going to come in and do some very good targeted advertising that is going to help us pull through,” she said.  GoDaddy’s election-themed spots will continue to air through November.

Although it seems as if everyone is preparing to watch the debates, advertising during them may not be for everyone. Advertisers who are seen favoring a certain candidate over the other or embracing a particular set of political talking points may lose part of the crowd. GoDaddy, she said, is relying on humor to get its message across. The only thing political about its ad, she said, is its setting.

More TV

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Africa Channel Owner, Congressional Black Caucus Blast Comcast Over Byron Allen Case

    The Congressional Black Caucus and an owner of cable’s Africa Channel have turned up the pressure on Comcast, blasting the cable giant for its business practices and legal strategy in fighting Byron Allen’s racial discrimination lawsuit. Paula Madison, an owner of The Africa Channel (TAC), issued a lengthy statement criticizing Comcast for what she characterized [...]

  • The L Word TV Show Reboot

    Golden Globes: What the Rise in LGBTQ+ Content May Mean for Awards Acclaim

    The LGBTQ+ community has made major strides on TV screens across the United States. Subjects that were once considered taboo even just a few years ago, including two same-sex people embracing on-screen, now dominate small-screen storylines. Behind the scenes, writers, producers and directors who identify as LGBTQ+ are also taking the reins of series, often [...]

  • The Mandalorian Episode 3

    ‘The Mandalorian’: 5 Burning Questions From Episode 3

    (SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not watched the first three episodes of Disney Plus’ “Star Wars” spinoff series “The Mandalorian.”)   Well, that was epic. Episode 3 of “The Mandalorian” ended in a massive shootout, with Pedro Pascal’s character escaping by the skin of his teeth, thanks to more than a little [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy' Leads Way

    TV Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy' Leads Scripted as 'Young Sheldon' Ticks Down

    “Grey’s Anatomy” was the highest rated non-football show on Thursday night, while its nearest competitor, “Young Sheldon,” was down week-to-week. The ABC drama was even at a 1.3 rating and around 6.4 million total viewers. “A Million Little Things” followed it up with a 0.8, and “How to Get Away with Murder” scored a 0.4. [...]

  • Stephen Curry, Will Arnett NBA Comedy

    Stephen Curry, Will Arnett NBA Comedy Series in Development at Fox

    Stephen Curry and Will Arnett may never be on the same basketball team, but the duo are working together on an NBA-related series which is in development at Fox. Titled “The Second Half,” the multi-camera comedy has been given a script plus penalty commitment by the network. “The Second Half” takes a “humorous look” at a retired [...]

  • Golden Globes: More New Contenders Cause

    Golden Globes: More New Contenders Cause Increased Voting Issues

    Last year, the amount of original scripted television series hit an all-time high at just under 500. This year the number is on track to top out well above that, with 154 of those shows being brand new launches for the calendar year (in a combination of ongoing series and limited events). And the kicker [...]

  • Liza Koshy

    Liza Koshy to Host Dance-Competition Series -- With a Moving Dance Floor -- for Quibi

    YouTube star and comedian Liza Koshy will preside over a dance-competition reality series coming to Quibi — a kind of mashup of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Wipeout.” In “Floored,” two opposing teams of skilled dancers will try their best to perform a routine while the dance floor itself actually lifts, tilts, drops, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content