Trump vs. Clinton: What They’re Buying

The Donald Trump tape of a 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood rocked the campaign earlier this month, but it was Hillary Clinton who made Access Hollywood a larger share of her campaign’s TV spending, with an estimated 82–18% over Trump.

On the flip side, Donald Trump has styled himself the “law and order” candidate. And it shows in his TV buys: he commands 53% of all spending on Law and Order in key battleground state markets.

Using spot-level data from Insights On Air, our competitive TV analytics platform, we looked at the top 50 non-news shows with the most advertising by Presidential candidates. The results are depicted here:

Hillary Clinton accounted for 71% of the spending in battleground markets, our analysis shows. But beyond Law and Order, there were some shows where Trump ads accounted for a majority of spending, most notably the biggest ticket item: NFL football. NFL games deliver significantly more impressions than any other program — more than double those delivered via airing ads during Jeopardy — the show with the second highest reach. Not limiting his live-TV sports buys to the NFL, Trump also outspent Hillary on NCAA football 80–20%. However, Clinton wasn’t outspent on all sports coverage. Clinton was far more likely to advertise during the Summer Olympics (94–6%) and on Major League Baseball 74–26%.

Despite spending less than Trump on NFL and NCAA football games, Clinton makes up for impressions lost on the pricey NFL ad space by spending more than Trump on a few shows with a high number of impressions. By outspending Trump on Jeopardy (68–32%), Dr. Oz (74–26%), and the Today Show (74–26%), Clinton’s estimated reach is approximately the same as Trump’s NFL buy. With Trump and Clinton spending almost inversely on prime-time crime thrillers and daytime talk shows, the one area the two candidates are almost evenly focused on is reality television. Trump and Clinton are almost evenly matched in how much they spend on Dancing with the Stars (56–44%, Trump-Clinton), The Voice (55–45%) and Survivor (54–46%).