Hillary Clinton airs 30,700 ads, but Donald Trump stays silent

It would take almost 14 days of eyes glued to the television to watch all the feel-good Hillary Clinton ads that have aired since the general election campaign began last month.

Meanwhile, anyone flipping through the channels looking for positive ads about Donald Trump would be disappointed: He hasn’t yet put up a spot appealing to November voters, and groups supporting him have been similarly silent.

The lopsided commercial airwaves show the candidates have drastically different views of the importance of traditional political campaigning. Trump says he sees little need for advertising at this stage. Instead, he has been banking on free media coverage propelled by his celebrity appeal.

As a consequence, he has largely ceded control over what the voting public is hearing about him.

Clinton’s large batch of biographical ads has given her an opportunity to directly influence views about her image.

Up next is what amounts to an hour-long infomercial on Thursday night in Cleveland, as Trump accepts his party’s nomination during a speech that will be televised widely in prime time.

Clinton has the same perk the following week from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

After that, Trump’s campaign has said he may begin advertising. That would be a dramatic change.

While Trump has aired zero ads, Clinton has been piping thousands of commercials into the homes of swing-state voters in places like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. Specific Florida markets such as Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers have been favoured targets, as well as Denver, for Clinton’s ads.

Since June 8, the day after she claimed the Democratic nomination, Clinton has put at least 30,700 commercials on broadcast TV, an Associated Press review of Kantar Media’s campaign advertising data shows.

The majority highlight her work as first lady to expand health care for children.

“For Hillary, it’s always been about kids,” a narrator says in an ad called Quiet Moments, which has run more than any other, some 11,400 times as of this week.

A 60-second spot called Always seems to spell out the reason for her ads.

“She would grow up to be one of the most recognisable women in the world,” says a narrator. “But less well-known are the causes that have been at the centre of her life.”

The commercial rolls through milestones in her life, beginning with black-and-white footage of her toddling down steps.

The few ads paid for by Trump supporters bash Ms Clinton rather than make the case for him. For example, a National Rifle Association ad urges people to vote for Trump by flashing his name for four seconds at the end of a 30-second spot. But the narrator says nothing about him — and doesn’t even utter his name.

Clinton’s campaign released a new ad this week that shows children watching television as Trump makes some of his most inflammatory comments. It asks, “Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?”


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