As the 2020 presidential election heated up in October, viewers across the country tuned into the debates and town halls, as well as the resulting news coverage. Although the debates aired without interruption, brands had opportunities before and after to reach the millions of people tuning in, and the town halls provided even more airtime with their commercial breaks.
We were curious about which brands and industries capitalized on the live viewership of these nationally-televised events, so we turned to iSpot, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, to find out.
USAFacts Had Most Airtime Around the Debates
Looking at the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, within the primetime and late night fringe dayparts, 64 advertisers aired spots across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Non-profit organizations, investment services, automakers and video streaming services accounted for the most minutes of ads across all industries, with the top brands (not counting network promos) by air time including USAFacts, Volkswagen, NordicTrack, Principal Financial Group and RYBELSUS.
During the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, 61 brands appeared across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC during the primetime and late night fringe dayparts. The top industries by airtime included non-profit organizations, automakers, investment services and business supplies & services. While the top three brands remained the same as the first debate, Fanapt and Smirnoff rounded out the airtime ranking.
More Brands Advertised Around the Biden Town Hall
Oct. 15 brought dueling town halls to TV screens, with Joe Biden hosting one on ABC and President Trump on NBC. These events both had commercial breaks, and there were roughly the same number of brands advertising on ABC as the debates (64 during primetime and late night fringe dayparts), but only 56 brands appeared around the Trump Town Hall on NBC during those dayparts.
Not counting network promos, the industries with the most airtime around Biden’s town hall included skin & footcare, wireless communication, department stores and vitamins & supplements; top brands included Gold Bond, Aimovig, T-Mobile, Samsung Mobile and Nature’s Bounty.
Top industries by airtime around the Trump town hall included wireless communication, department stores, diabetes & blood prescriptions and psoriasis, skin & nails. Top brands by airtime included Verizon, RYBELSUS, Lincoln Motor Company, Oculus VR and Kohl’s.