It's about time: Trump makes first swing state ad buys - here's the initial spot

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday August 19th, 2016

Will it work?

Update: initial reports suggested Trump had already spent $60 million on ads.  That's not the case.  Today's buy total just $4 million, but more is to come.  The eventual total has not been announced.  The piece has been altered to reflect this.

Here in Michigan, we don't see too many Presidential campaign ads. That's because, at least in terms of the top of the ticket, Democrats have dominated the state since 1988. Those of you who live in battleground states?  I feel your pain.

Ad season is starting.  

Actually, for Hillary Clinton, it started a long time ago. She's been spending gobs of cash on propaganda, TV spots, print ads, and radio commercials. For a while, she had to do this in order to claw her way into a tie with Donald Trump.  Then, the GOP nominee endured a series of unforced errors, and she pulled ahead in the polls.  Her lead varies from poll to poll, but it exists.

Regardless of its efficacy, one thing is certain.  Her dominance in terms of advertising has gone largely unchallenged.  That's about to change.

Donald Trump made his first ad buys of the 2016 general election.

From NPR:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign will begin airing its first television ads of the general election in the coming days, the campaign confirms to NPR.

The ads will air in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and North Carolina — all key battleground states where Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has taken leads or grown her leads in recent polls. It was not immediately known how much the Trump campaign would spend in this initial ad buy.

Trump has insisted that he does not need to run traditional TV ads, given the attention he gets from free media coverage and his reach on social media.

"I don't even know why I need so much money," Trump said at a campaign rally in Maine back in June. "I go around, I make speeches, I talk to reporters. I don't even need commercials, if you want to know the truth."

To answer Trump's point, the reason you need them is "because they work."  They're annoying, perhaps, but every bit of data from the last 60 years indicates that they matter.

Trump's first buy totals $4 million - a paltry sum compared to the $117 Million Hillary has already spent.  However, more buys are coming, and we don't yet know how much he'll eventually spend. Besides, as Jeb! Bush will tell you, spending more than your opponent doesn't necessarily equal success.

So, the question now is twofold: Can Donald Trump pivot toward being a more respectable and respectful "serious" candidate, and will his TV spots cut into Hillary's numbers?

To the first part, I'd say absolutely, but he'll be walking a razor's edge from here on out. One more major blunder will probably be enough to end him. He has a new team, and allegedly a new attitude. If he can stick to it, then yes.  There's still time to reverse public perception. 

To the second, I'd say this: Hillary has been spending millions to maintain her lead. She's been aided in her efforts by Donald Trump's foot-in-mouth disease and her ad buys have been almost entirely unanswered. Yet several polls still show a close race.  If he can control his tongue and put together a solid ad campaign, his spots should make a dent. 

That's a lot of "ifs," but that's the deal.  Time will tell if Trump can stick to his image makeover.

In the meantime, his first ad appears below. 

Stealing the Dems old "there are two Americas" bit? Smart move.

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