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Political ads leave little room for other marketing

A woman watches TV while drinking wine.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: I mentioned the Republican takeover of the House,
with Democrats holding on to a slim majority in the Senate. Some ballots have yet to be counted. But one thing's for sure: we'll get regular TV commercials back.

Milwaukee Public Radio's Mitch Teich
reports on what happens now:


Mitch Teich: It turns out many ad buyers hate political commercials more than you do. That's because ads for other clients -- shoe stores, car dealers -- get bumped to make room for political spots. Local stations give priority to campaign ads, which pay more.

Alicia Smits is an ad buyer for Laughlin Constable in Milwaukee. She represents clients like the department store chain, The Boston Store. And she says there's an issue when the store has already bought time.

Alicia Smits: So the problem is, for the Boston Store our sales are very very short.

She's talking about those special Columbus Day and Labor Day sales, which only last a few days, and can't be aired later on.

Smits: When I get kicked out by politicians, I have nowhere to go because the other stations in the market can't take it, because nobody has inventory for me to take. It's just not available.

That means lots of so-called "make-goods" in the coming weeks, ads that were supposed to run in the campaign season, but didn't.

Smits: Since they're getting pushed back, that puts more of a pressure on the stations' inventory. So even though it's not as horrible -- nearly as horrible -- it's still really tight.

Smits says that means ad buying will remain complicated even into December, because ads for holiday sales will be competing for time with those make-goods.

In Milwaukee, I'm Mitch Teich for Marketplace.

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