TV viewers say they're being bombarded by political ads

Ads with similar messages sometimes back-to-back

SAN DIEGO - Many local television viewers say they are being bombarded by political ads.

"I think that they've pretty much taken over commercials up until the election," said Michelle Redfield, who lives in the South Bay.

However, it is not just the sheer number of ads that viewers are noticing. Some are asking when an ad like "No on Proposition 900," for example, is followed by another ad with the exact same message, why aren't they separated? Why do they sometimes run back-to-back?

"There's more competition to get into those key programs," said Sarah Linden, a media strategist and president of Del Dielo Media. "There's only a certain amount of inventory that you can buy and everybody wants basically the same inventory."

Normally, television stations separate similar messages, but this general election season's ad buying frenzy is not normal.  

Usually, ad buyers want the ad placed in a 30- or 60-minute show and which show is no accident. Linden says the campaigns poll voters every day.

"We take that information and we target the message to be airing in certain places," she said.

That certain place could be a show like ABC's "The View" if polls show a candidate is falling behind with women.

Linden estimates roughly $23 million to $25 million have been spent on ads in the San Diego television market since September and that does not include any presidential campaign money.

It is no coincidence that the big bucks are coming after the controversial Supreme Court decision in 2010 allowing unlimited spending by any independent group for or against candidates.

As for the number of ads, Linden says research shows people need to see an ad 10 to 12 times to make a decision. That is why campaigns inundate viewers and they will until the very end.

"There will be ads on election day as you're walking to the poll," said Linden.

Research also shows that news viewers are a popular target for ads because they tend to be informed and want to learn more.

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