Obama Tests Waters With Late-Night Informercial

Aug 12, 2008  •  Post A Comment

First Barack Obama’s campaign made political and broadcast history by buying $5 million of advertising in NBC Universal’s Olympics programming. Now it’s marking another political first, running the first infomercial of the 2008 presidential campaign.
If you hadn’t noticed, that may be because the nearly 30-minute program aired at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, on Ion Television.
The Obama campaign late Tuesday described the ad as an effort to reach voters who don’t see normal ads.
“This was one more effective way for us to communicate with folks who may not normally see other communications we have with voters who are paying closer attention to the race,” the campaign said in a statement.
The mostly biographical, 28-minute, 30-second program included scenes of the Illinois senator’s keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, as well as scenes from other campaign appearances, background about Sen. Obama and frequent call-in numbers.
There was immediate speculation that the airing was a late-night test of whether the infomercial format could successfully generate contributions and calls.
Republican candidate Sen. John McCain is accepting federal financing for the fall campaign. Mr. Obama has declined the funding, leaving him unrestrained by spending limits, but he must continue raising his own funds.
“It is a first. I guess they are going after the insomniac vote,” said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of TNS Media Intelligence’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. He said the unusual time slot for the spot appears to allow the campaign to test the effectiveness of the infomercial format without spending much.
Mr. Tracey said the infomercial is a first from any of the presidential campaigns this year, and may be the first from any of the presidential campaigns in years.
In 1992 and 1994 Reform Party candidate Ross Perot used infomercials as a mainstay of his advertising efforts.
In 1992, the Clinton campaign occasionally ran “A Man From Hope,” a biographical film originally produced for the Democratic National Convention, as an infomercial.
(6:35 p.m.: Updated with Obama campaign statement)


  1. That is too funny! “testing waters” and being on a channel few watch anyhow. Lets not mention that few viewers are watching ION at 1:30 AM on a Sunday. That’s not even a logical move. Most of the people he should be trying to get are probably watching the “other LPTV” on TBN, not Ion. Now CBS at 1:30 AM, that might be a better choice. EVERY MARKET get XCBS, over ION. Most viewers that watch CBS tend to be more center to right ended, hence the less liberal programming than other networks.
    No offense… this electiion and how it’s working out is not making sense this time around. BOTH sides are not making sense. That’s why I NEVER vote one way or the other. Strange, I was supposed to decide the last big race (center/fencepost voter, in Toledo Ohio). Funny how that didn’t work out either.

  2. Between Girls Gone Wild and Enzyte infomercials?

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