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$1.4 million spent on mayoral ads this week

Most of it is coming from two candidates, Jim Kenney and Anthony Williams.

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Political advertising follows its own calendar. This is Week 2 right now, which will end next Tuesday. Then begins Week 1, the final seven-day stretch before the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, May 19. For obvious reasons, ad placement is slightly more expensive in Week 1 than in the weeks prior to E-Day.

Right now, the total for Week 2 is just shy of $1.4 million. In a broader context, this is a small sum. Before campaign finance limits were established in Philadelphia, campaigns could receive unlimited donations from individuals and organizations, and thus rang up considerably larger tabs on TV advertising.

From lowest to highest, here’s what both their campaigns and independent expenditure groups are spending on airtime this week. (Keep in mind that these numbers can change by the day as new ad purchases are made.)

T. Milton Street currently has no ads. Last week, he said that an anonymous donor had bought him some radio spots, but we have not yet received confirmation.

Doug Oliver has spent the least, with $2,359 on cable channel advertisements this week. His ad can be seen here. Next is Nelson Diaz, who invested $56,100 on his first ad this week.

Lynne Abraham dropped $178,000 on her ads in Week 2. Her campaign team has already purchased $222,000 for next week as well.

In media advertising reality, less than $100,000 doesn’t guarantee much name recognition.

“The rule of thumb in our business is that it takes a voter seeing a commercial 10 times to produce recall,” says Ken Snyder, the media consultant for Jim Kenney’s campaign.

Jim Kenney’s advertising expenses hit $400,000 for this week with his new ad, up from $350,000 last week. His campaign hasn’t disclosed its expenditures for next week, but it is expected to be a bit higher.

The two Political Action Committees (PACs) supporting Kenney — Building a Better PA and Forward Philadelphia — haven’t  purchased any airtime this week. They placed some radio ads, but you won’t be seeing PAC-paid TV commercials for Kenney today. Nonetheless, the two PACs have spent well over $1 million by now for their candidate, and are expected to spend more in the final week.

PACs purchasing ads for (or against) candidates pay about a 30 percent higher premium. The media metrical system isn’t dollar for dollar; $100,000 spent by a PAC equates to fewer points (i.e., a lower audience reach) than an ad purchased for the same amount by a campaign. But PACs, by law, aren’t allowed to coordinate directly with campaigns.

Inversely, Anthony Williams is off the air this week. They haven’t placed any purchases yet, aside from a reported $40,000+ attack ad on Jim Kenney. Last week they spent $62,815 on this new Williams clip.

American Cities, the PAC supporting Williams, has been supplying plenty of positive support this week. They shelled out over $801,000 to radio, cable, and broadcast networks this week, $678,650 of that is for broadcast commercials.

Last week (Week 3), American Cities spent more than that, $748,000, on just broadcast ads, with a total media buy of $858,000. Philadelphia School Advocacy Partners, a private group advocating charter schools and supporting Williams, has paid out $30,000 for ads supporting him this week.

American Cities will spend almost $1 million on pro-Williams ads next week. According to a media source, the PAC purchased about $928,000 across all networks, $804,000 of which is broadcast. Again, these numbers may increase with additional buys.

Just a few weeks ago, American Cities had only spent $1.5 million in total ads. Reporting for WHYY, Dave Davies noted at the time that the PAC was on pace to spend around $4 total promoting Williams.

No purchases have been made yet for next week by the two PACs supporting Jim Kenney.

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