Nominee Romney to Add Cable to Ad Mix   

The new science of winning campaigns
Aug. 29 2012 1:36 PM

Nominee Romney to Add Cable to Ad Mix   

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A woman holds a cutout of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney before the third day of the 2012 Republican national Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Romney was nominated on August 28 as the Republican candidate to run against US US President Barack Obama in the 2012 US Presidential Election. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage from the GOP convention.

TAMPA — As soon as Mitt Romney officially accepts his party’s nomination tomorrow, his presidential campaign will go somewhere it hasn’t gone before: cable television.

As nominee, Romney will gain access to the hundreds of millions of dollars he has raised for his general-election fund this summer, the basis of what will likely amount to a significant advantage in available money over the Obama campaign for the remainder of the campaign.  One of the first places the cash will likely be spent is on a newly diversified media portfolio.

Cable television allows campaigns to more narrowly target their buys, both by piecing together small, demographically well-defined audiences on specialized channels and selecting compact geographical zones covered by individual cable systems.  But it’s also hard to match the volume offered by broadcast television, where one is forced to buy across an entire media market at a time and in so doing reach a significant share of the electorate.

So far this spring and summer, Romney has stuck with advertising on broadcast channels as he works to introduce broad themes.  Soon he will add a cable presence, not only giving his strategists a new opportunity to reach niche audiences but to use more tailored messages in the ads he shows them.

Sasha Issenberg is the author of The Victory Lab about the new science of political campaigns.

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