- Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign confirmed it bought a 60-second ad set to run during Super Bowl LIV, which airs on Fox Sports on February 2.
- A Bloomberg campaign spokesperson said the decision came in response to news that President Donald Trump would run a spot during the big game, with Bloomberg “taking the fight” to the president.
- The campaign initially said Bloomberg bought twice the ad time to make a bigger impact than Trump, though Politico later reported that Trump also paid for 60 seconds.
- Sources told Business Insider that Hawkfish, the digital-research and marketing firm launched by Bloomberg last year, was producing the ad.
- The move is part of Bloomberg’s strategy to focus on influential Super Tuesday states that include a large number of delegates in the Democratic primary election, his campaign said.
- Before this big broadcast buy, the Bloomberg campaign focused on Facebook and Google ads to counter Trump’s heavy presence on those platforms.
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Billionaire media mogul and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to double down on advertising in his long-shot bid to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and defeat President Donald Trump in November.
A spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the next step in that strategy involves advertising’s biggest stage, with the Bloomberg 2020 campaign set to run a 60-second ad during Super Bowl LIV. The game airs on Fox Sports on February 2.
Hawkfish, the New York-based data and marketing agency formed by Bloomberg in 2019, is producing the ad, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Bloomberg wants to have a greater impact than Trump
In November, Sports Business Journal reported that Trump’s campaign was in negotiations with the Fox Sports team to buy a 30-second Super Bowl spot.
“When the Trump campaign decided to run an ad during the big game, the Bloomberg campaign responded by buying a spot. Mike is taking the fight to Trump,” a Bloomberg spokesperson said. “Trump is reportedly running a 30-second ad. Bloomberg opted for more impact and more time with 60 seconds.”
After this story initially ran, Politico reported that the Trump campaign had, in fact, also purchased 60 seconds of ad time in the game. It is not clear whether Trump will run a single minute-long ad or two 30-second spots.
The spokesperson said this buy is part of Bloomberg’s strategy of running a national campaign that focuses on both early-voting, delegate-heavy Super Tuesday states and “parts of the country that are often overlooked.” He wouldn’t discuss the content of the ad. The Bloomberg campaign’s theme is “Rebuild America.”
The Trump reelection campaign did not respond to a request for comment on its Super Bowl plans.
The Bloomberg campaign plans to supplement its heavy digital presence with a big buy on broadcast TV’s biggest night
Regarding price, the campaign said only that Bloomberg paid “the market rate” for its ad unit. Mike McHale, the head of media activation for the media-buying agency Noble People, said Fox’s prices for minutelong ads were about $11.2 million. McHale previously negotiated to buy an ad in the game on behalf of an unnamed client before walking away from the deal.
While Kantar Media, a market-research firm, had prices for a 30-second spot averaging $4.51 million, Fox Sports’ head of ad sales told Bloomberg in November that each unit sold for over $5 million, with a high of $5.6 million, a Super Bowl record.
So far, Bloomberg has focused heavily on digital advertising to counter Trump’s presence in that space. As part of that strategy, Hawkfish recently went on a hiring spree, picking up former executives from Facebook, Foursquare, Google, and Goldman Sachs.
According to the most recent spending numbers provided to Business Insider by Acronym, a nonprofit progressive digital-media organization, Bloomberg outspent every other candidate on Google during the last three-week cycle, which ran from November 10 to January 4.
His $22.8 million overall ad budget, however, was still far below that of Trump, who spent a whopping $34.8 million – $22.1 million on paid Facebook placements alone.
By contrast, Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden spent only $5.1 million across Google and Facebook during the same period. Acronym does not measure broadcast buys.
A recent New York Times report cited data firm Advertising Analytics, which estimated that Bloomberg could spend between $300 million and $400 million across all media platforms before the Super Tuesday primaries.