Your client at the political conventions
Reach Republicans and Democrats with your client's message
August 27, 2012
Tens of thousands of people have descended on the city of Tampa, Fla., this week for the Republican National Convention, and thousands more will do the same next week for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
For advertisers, the conventions offer an opportunity to target large, engaged audiences, even while the brands don't have an official tie to the conventions themselves.
Opportunities to get in front of the political crowds include street teams near the sites of the conventions, branded pedicabs servicing the convention area, and sponsored shuttles to and from airports.
To find out how to get your client at political conventions, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Guerrilla advertising at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Any out-of-home agency with street team capabilities can set up campaigns at political conventions.
How it works
Much like other high-profile events such as the Super Bowl, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions set up perimeters around the convention sites where advertising is prohibited.
But there are still ways to target delegates and other people attending the conventions.
It can start as soon as convention-goers arrive in town at the airport, where advertisers can sponsor shuttles to hotels near the convention area. A bus or van can be completely wrapped, with brand spokespersons handing out samples and talking to riders about the product.
Street teams can distribute iPads for riders to interact with a branded site while on the van or bus. Onboard screens can show clips from an upcoming TV show or movie.
Another option is branded pedicabs servicing folks in and around the convention area. The ad message could be as simple as a sign on the back of the cab, or the vehicle can be fully branded with a street team member talking up a product during the ride.
Another option: offering free rides to folks who "like" a brand on Facebook.
Advertisers can use street teams in a number of other ways, including distributing fliers, passing out free coffee or water, or signing people up for contests and mailing lists using internet-connected tablets.
Brands can also target convention attendees by partnering with local venues in the area, such as bars, restaurants or hotels. For example, a bar near the convention site might host a branded trivia night, or an advertiser could offer convention-goers discounted food at a nearby restaurant.
This year's Republican National Convention is in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention is in Charlotte, N.C.
Tampa is expecting 50,000 people to visit the city for this week's Republican National Convention, which will host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates.
Charlotte is expecting 35,000 people for the Democratic National Convention Sept. 4-6, with 5,552 delegates taking part.
How it is measured
Street teams can track the number of people they interact with and the number of branded items distributed.
Also, airport shuttles and pedicabs can track how many passengers they serve. Street traffic data can also be used to estimate impressions.
What product categories work well
Recent or current convention advertisers include entertainment, TV networks, newspapers, consumer packaged goods, local bars/restaurants, beverages and snack foods.
Demographics between active Republicans and Democrats vary slightly.
Among Republicans, 60 percent are male and 40 percent are female, according to Scarborough Research. Nine percent are age 18-29, 19 percent are 30-44, 39 percent are 45-64 and 33 percent are 65-plus. Seventy-one percent have an annual household income at $50,000 or higher, with 55 percent at $75,000 or more and 35 percent at $100,000 or more.
Among Democrats, 54 percent are male and 46 percent female. Twelve percent are age 18-29, 20 percent are 30-44, 42 percent are 45-64 and 26 percent are 65-plus. Seventy-one percent have an annual household income at $50,000 or more, with 55 percent at $75,000 or higher and 36 percent at $100,000 or more.
Making the buy
Street team campaigns can be set up in as little as 48 hours, although a lead time of at least two weeks is preferable. Lead time for other types of campaigns such as pedicabs and airports shuttles is typically four to eight weeks.
Pricing varies widely depending on the size of the campaign. A simple street team campaign could cost as little as $5,000, while an airport shuttle campaign with customized buses for multiple days could cost $100,000 or more.
Who's already been at political conventions
Current or recent brands that have advertised at conventions include Comedy Central, CNN, Safeway, Media Research Center, MSNBC and Verizon.
What they're saying
"With any convention in general the challenge is how do you get people in a way you wouldn't have to pay a lot for? You're going to have an entire community flooded with people, and to a certain extent you know their basic age range and sensibilities, so you can tailor and customize to that." — Patrick Garrigan, vice president michael alan group.
Web site info
Republican National Convention
Democratic National Convention
michael alan group
Tags: campaign, campaigns, democratic national convention, dnc, dnc advertising, hotels, out of home, out of home advertising, Patrick Garrigan, people, political, republican national convention, rnc, rnc advertising, street teams, target
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