Record Political Ad Spending Crowding Out Consumer Spots

With campaign messages on track to yield $4.2 billion this year, media buyer Lisa Pilger says: "We are pulling our hair out”

NEW YORK - With political advertising spending on local TV stations expected to set a new record this year, consumer ads have often been pushed aside in the runup to Tuesday's midterm elections, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Advertisers generally buy local TV ads with contracts that state they can be pre-empted. TV stations are legally bound to take a federal candidate spot first if the politician is paying the same rate.

The strong political season has left marketers and its Madison Avenue media buyers scrambling to readjust media plans.

"We are pulling our hair out," Lisa Pilger, vp of local media at Rubin Postaer & Associates, which has had about 20% of its local ad buys bumped off the air by political messages, told the Journal.

Marketers who don't have an immediate sale to promote have in many cases pushed ads back until after the election or taken back money for bumped spots.

Research firm Borrell Associates predicts political ad spending will top $4.2 billion this year, with local TV reaping 63% of that, the Journal said. Other projections have started as low as $3 billion. In 2008, political spending amounted to $2.5 billion.

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