MNGOP ad buy:$10k, Coverage of ad: priceless

It appears that the Minnesota Republican Party’s return on investment was pretty good on their TV ad buy regarding the transportation bill. Comcast says the ad will run 82 times this week on Fox News. No other metro station is running the ad. The total cost in the metro area: $10k.

Compare that with the amount of coverage the ad received after MnGOP Chair Ron Carey held a news conference to announce the ad buy. He wouldn’t detail the size of the ad buy except to say it was significant.

What was significant was the news coverage. MPR and WCCO radio ran stories on the ad during newscasts. The Pi Press, the Star Tribune, KSTP, Fox9 and AP had stories on the ad. Also, WCCO reality checked the ad on Wednesday. I’m told KARE also ran a story on the ad.

Judging by the targeted audience (Fox News) and the plea for fundraising and personal info on the website, the ad may be more of a party building tool than a call for action.

As one colleague put it “They really earned that earned media.”

UPDATED QUESTIONS: This is a dilemma that newsrooms and reporters struggle with. When is it appropriate to cover an ad? How should we go about covering the ad? Does the size of the ad buy matter or is it the content? Does it matter if the ad is on TV or just a web ad?


  • Tom – Great update questions:

    When should you cover an ad, well I think this might be a good example of when to cover it. The ad was on a current news items (one test) and the ad had interesting (new worthy) content. I don’t think where the ad was matters, except that it was an ad (i.e. not on or the creator’s web site), it needs to have paid placement.

    Current new items – The tax increase had several days of coverage, in fact it is still being covered in some form or another.

    News Worthy – The fact that the add fails to mention the GOP members that voted for it (and the override) makes it have ‘hook’ to make it news worthy in it’s self.

    Actually an ad – They did pay to put it on the air. Unlike some of the ‘web only’ stuff that only is posted to the campaign or party web site, they actually put out dollars to some other company to ‘show’ the ad.

    That would be the three things I would look at when covering someone’s advertising or being critical of news organizations covering advertising.