How Brands Embraced TV Ads During Election Week 2020


With millions of mail-in and absentee ballots to count, election night quickly turned into “election week” in the U.S., and audiences glued to TVs for days awaiting the result of the presidential race. Cable news, in particular, aired wall-to-wall coverage despite only a handful of updates per day from battleground states. Yet, viewers remained tuned in, as brands that advertised throughout the week-long event witnessed.

In iSpot’s Election Week 2020 report, we recap top brand advertisers from both election night and election week (Nov. 3-7), network insights and data around voter-centric ads.

Key Takeaways

  • CNN, Fox News and MSNBC generated 17.8 billion ad impressions from Nov. 3-7; nearly three times the total for those networks during the same time period in 2019
  • Oral care brands (led by Therabreath) were a surprise winner on election night, with the second-most impressions of any industry
  • CNN had 2 billion more ad impressions than the nearest network during the week of Nov. 1-7, despite election coverage, NFL and college football games also appearing on other networks
  • Health insurance spiked during election week, with nearly 700 million ad impressions across cable networks during the five-day stretch
  • Facebook was the top voting-centric brand advertiser in the month leading up to the election, garnering over 2 billion impressions for its “get out the vote” spot

Why It Matters

During a hectic year, the 2020 presidential election gobbled up attention and impressions as political ads were all over TV. Yet, that dynamic didn’t stop brands from being able to cut through the noise, even on cable news networks. During what wound up being five straight days of election coverage, many brands didn’t shy away from associations with politics, potentially providing a roadmap for how others can do the same in the future.

Interested in learning more about TV advertising during election week 2020, and how certain brands capitalized on increased viewership on cable news networks? Take a look at iSpot’s free report.

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