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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Big Money Still Flows Into TV Ads Despite Shifting Media Landscape

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This has been a record-setting year in Oregon when it comes to election spending.

A measure that would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods has eclipsed the previous mark for an Oregon initiative. And it's not the only big-bucks ballot measure this year.

So where is all that money going? The vast majority goes to television advertising.

Kari Chisholm, president of the Portland-based political consulting firm Mandate Media, said advertisers are developing a way to target political ads on a home-by-home level based on the demographic information of each individual cable subscriber.

It’s called micro-targeting but Chisholm says insiders named it something else.

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A screengrab of a 'No on 92' ad.

"We call it ‘creepy awesome.’ From a personal privacy standpoint, it's pretty creepy,” he admitted. “From a marketing standpoint, as an advertiser, it's pretty awesome."

Of course, that strategy is used all the time on the Internet. But the online market is still just a fraction of overall political spending.

Chisholm said television is still the most cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people. Especially older people who are more likely to vote in a mid-term.