Republican Mia Love’s campaign has scaled back on its television advertising in the last few weeks, as measured by gross rating points, while Democrat Ben McAdams is blanketing the airwaves ahead of the 4th Congressional District election.

According to television ad buy data obtained by UtahPolicy.com, McAdams has outspent Love on TV ads in the last three weeks, and will outspend her again this week. The difference in spending between the two campaigns has dramatically increased.

Date

Love TV spending

McAdams TV spending

August 20-27

$0

$86,439

August 28-September 3

$211,510

$85,257

September 4-10

$189,690

$88,463

September 11-17

$74,550

$77,558

September 18-24

$106,405

$144,963

September 25-October 1

$80,245

$193,092

October 2-8

$68,960

$182,622

October 9-15

$77,850

$236,543

 

Love’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, tells UtahPolicy.com that the campaign is not backing off on its advertising. He said the campaign was spending more during August and September due to them running a 60-second ad instead of the usual 30-second spot. Now that they’re back to 30-second commercials, their advertising spend has gone down accordingly.

That may be part of it, but a real key is to look at something called gross rating points or GRP, which is a measurement of advertising impact. The more GRP in a particular ad spend, the more frequently an ad is seen. The general rule of thumb is an ad needs approximately 1,000 GRP’s before its message is “fully saturated” in the market. According to Digiday.com, GRP is a “branding metric” to help determine how many people within an intended audience might have seen an ad.

The two weeks the Love campaign ran its 60-second ad highlighting her efforts to free Josh Holt, they purchased 542 and 604 GRP’s respectively. After that, their GRP purchases mostly dropped, while McAdams’ jumped.

Date

Love GRP's

McAdams GRP's

August 20-26

0

500

August 28-September 3

604

500

September 4-10

542

500

September 11-17

426

500

September 18-24

608

800

September 25-October 1

459

1000

October 2-8

345

1000

October 9-15

389

1000

 

Curiously, all of Love’s GRP placements have been on broadcast TV alone, while McAdams has split his ads between broadcast and cable.

It seems odd that Love’s campaign would scale back on the air war, particularly now, in the hotly contested race against McAdams. Ballots start hitting mailboxes this week, so this could be the final chance campaigns have to make their case to voters. As we get closer to election day, there will be fewer and fewer persuadable voters who haven’t yet cast their ballot.

However, the Love campaign is getting some help from the Congressional Leadership Fund, which on Wednesday released an ad attacking McAdams. A press release about the ad said it will run on television and on digital platforms. Politico reported the ad buy was $1 million.  

The drop in ad spending from Love may suggest her campaign is having cash flow problems, as advertising is one of the first things that gets cut when money gets tight. Hansen says that’s not the case at all. “We have enough to do what we planned,” said Hansen in an email. However, he declined to share fundraising numbers from the most recent quarter with UtahPolicy.com, saying their fundraising numbers would be made public around the October 15 FEC deadline.