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Political Spending as a Form of Advertising: Overview


Some people spend millions on cars, jewelry, boats – some spend millions on property. And some people? They spend millions on a political campaign. In 2009, New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, spent around $110 million of his own money on his campaign. In 2010, Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, and California gubernatorial candidate spent roughly $144 million of her personal finances on the campaign. For the record: Bloomberg won his third term. And Whitman? She lost to Jerry Browne, who was supported by millions from union-backed groups; his total campaign spending totaled roughly $40 million.

Personally, I tend to think $100+ million is a lot to spend on, well, just about anything. But I guess that’s because I’m not a billionaire (or a millionaire, for that matter).

For context: Political Spending actually falls under the umbrella of Campaign Finance, which is described as the “fundraising and spending that political campaigns do in their election campaigns.” And Political Spending Accounts for actions like Advertising and Canvassing (It also includes a few other things, according to Wikipedia. But I don’t want to make the task of reading this article an onerous one, so I shall keep them limited to “Advertising” and “Canvassing.”)

Moving right along, I’m going to assume you know what advertising and TV spots area, but canvassing, maybe you don’t. Very briefly, a dictionary definition: “To go through (a region) or go to (persons) to solicit votes or orders.”  Often this process takes the form of door-to-door interactions, or it can be done via telephone.

So, let’s refer back to the title of this article: “Political Spending as a Form of Advertising,” I think it’s quite evident that the title holds true. Political Spending, by definition, includes forms of advertising and separate tactics.

The bottom line? If you are advertising, you are selling something. Sometimes it’s Axe deodorant, and other times you are selling yourself. But of course, in the case of Meg Whitman, occasionally it doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising – if you have a bad product, it just won’t sell.


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