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Published on October 8th, 2018 | by Ken Klein

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Political Ads: ‘Essential to 1st Amendment Protection’

Ken Klein

Ken Klein OAAA Executive Vice President, Government Affairs


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In northern Nevada – its airwaves crowded with political ads – Rep. Mark Amodei figures he can cut through the racket with billboards.

Compared to political attacks on TV, (digital) billboards are sharp-looking, positive, and ever-present, says the candidate, seeking a fifth term in a District that includes Reno and Carson City.

As political-ad spending soars to a mid-term election record, candidates and causes are using out of home media to reach voters outside the home. Media-tracking data from Kantar and other sources shows back-to-back-to-back growth in political-ad spending on out of home media, with the 2018 mid-term election on pace to set another OOH record.

Issues of the Day

The Union of Concerned Scientists uses high-contrast red, white, and blue billboards to urge America to “vote for science,” while also respecting spirituality.

“Editorial speech,” says John Barrett of Barrett Outdoor, “is crucial to maintaining the First Amendment protection of our industry.”

This plea for science, which first appeared on Barrett’s billboards along high-volume I-95 in Connecticut, also was posted in red-state Indiana by Porter Advertising along I-70 near the Ohio border.

Along I-95 in Connecticut

Along I-70 in Indiana

In California, a partisan group that wants to flip Republican House seats (red to blue) mimics iconic symbolism of the Oscar-winning movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Political billboards, outside Fresno, claimed an incumbent congressman overlooks local concerns.

Billboard targeting Rep. Nunes

As voters in North Dakota prepare to vote on a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana, opponents put up billboards in high-traffic areas in Fargo and Bismarck, warning of “no potency limits.”

A ballot measure in Nevada to change the regulatory scheme for electric utilities (Question 3) is generating heavy advertising, including billboards.

Organized labor relied heavily on billboards to defeat an anti-union ballot proposal in Missouri in August; Proposition A lost by a 2-to-1 margin.

Billboard targeting Rep. Nunes

In Pennsylvania, the sprawling congressional district of candidate Dan Meuser touches four TV markets. Meuser’s campaign is supplementing broadcast and online ads with billboards along heavily traveled routes in four counties.

Dan Meuser uses billboards in Pennsylvania.

Political Ads 2018
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