TO:            Interested Parties
FROM:     Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Manager
RE:            General Election Paid Media Strategy
DATE:       August 5, 2020


Overall Strategy:
With less than 100 days to go until the election, our campaign is continuing to communicate directly with voters, showing real leadership in these times of crisis, and offering a clear contrast with President Trump. This election is a referendum on a President who has proven incapable of leading effectively in times of peril and struggle. Joe Biden has proven time and again he can deliver the empathetic leadership we need when it counts the most, and has the experience and character to see it through.

Our campaign is assembling a diverse coalition — The Biden Coalition — to defeat Trump. We’ve made critical investments to build a newly envisioned campaign to meet this moment. With thousands of staff across 17 battleground states, a focus on state- and coalition-specific programming, and unprecedented investments in virtual organizing and voter education, we are working to earn every vote. Our paid media program is an integral part of those efforts, helping lay the groundwork for multiple pathways to 270.

Today, we are announcing that we will lay down a $280 million paid media reservation — spanning TV and digital — as we head into the fall. Our reservation will include a major national television component, investments in “offensive” states, the largest digital reservation in campaign history, and an immense commitment to targeted communities, as demonstrated by our planned investments in Latino, African American, and AAPI targeted media. Our program will also invest in discrete tracks of programming geared towards youth and seniors audiences.

The Reservation:
Our reservation reflects an overall campaign strategy that has set out to create multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes. Our path to victory is one of addition — competing in more states and speaking to a wider share of the electorate. This falls in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s paid media program which has driven a negative message of division and invested the majority of their resources into a smaller subset of states.

This reservation lays the groundwork for a paid media program that enables our campaign to communicate directly with a broad swath of the electorate, letting voters hear directly from Vice President Biden speaking to the moment we’re in — the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis that has left millions jobless — and see a demonstration of the type of leadership that’s so badly missing from the White House right now. And, it is in stark contrast with the Trump campaign, whose advertising has only sought to distract from his failed leadership during this pivotal time and use this moment of crisis to further divide the nation.

The historic investment, coming on the heels of the Trump campaign’s own $145 million reservation, provides the blueprint for a sophisticated, integrated paid program spanning TV, digital, radio, and print that takes an audience first approach and meets voters where they consume content.

The States:
States we are reserving TV and digital inventory:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Arizona
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Colorado
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Ohio
  • Texas

Television Strategy:
Our television reservation is the largest presidential campaign advertising time reservation in history. This reflects a well funded campaign that is setting out to play offense across a wide set of states. We have reserved $220 million for our fall advertising campaign.

  • Playing Offense in More States – Not only are we making a larger overall reservation than Trump, we’re reserving in more states including GA, TX, and OH because we have multiple paths to 270 and an increasingly large number of voters who are available to us.
  • National TV – Our reservation includes a significant investment in national television cable networks and national broadcast. This allows us to efficiently expand our advertising footprint and maximize our paths to 270 electoral votes, as these ads will be seen nationwide.
  • High-Impact Programming + Creative – A significant portion of our reservation will be :60 ads, allowing for longer-form creative and higher quality impressions with voters as we head into the election. Additionally, our reservation will include major viewing events, including the return of sports, national broadcast news, and presidential and vice-presidential debate coverage.

Digital Strategy:
Digital persuasion is at the heart of our paid media strategy. Our digital investment reflects a paid media operation that is putting digital front and center. We have reserved $60 million for our fall persuasion advertising campaign.

  • Historic Investment in Digital – This reservation is part of a planned nine-figure investment in digital that spans programs that seek to persuade, educate, and mobilize voters across a wide swath of geographic and demographic groups
  • Booking Quality Video – We have locked in reservations with in-demand video sites like Hulu, YouTube, and ESPN. This inventory is high-quality and allows us to build a digital program that gets in front of voters with high quality ad experiences across screens, from mobile devices to connected TVs.
  • Meeting Voters Where They Are – We’re investing in media that reflects the digital consumption habits of our persuasion and mobilization targets. Those include:
    • Podcasts + Digital Audio – Streaming audio has been a huge growth area over the last four years, we plan to invest heavily in the area and broker investments with top properties in the space
    • Online Gaming – Since the onset of COVID-19, we have seen people spend more time with specific types of media online. Online gaming has seen a 40% increase during COVID-19 both in terms of mobile gaming and console gaming. We are locking in inventory in our key states with both console gaming partners (such as PlayStation) as well as mobile gaming partners (such as TapJoy and Inmobi).
    • Sports Content – We are reserving video inventory on sports properties, which typically see highest consumption the day after a big game or sporting event


  • Preparing for the Big Moments – We are locking in high-impact inventory during major political moments in Q3 and Q4 — including the DNC convention, RNC convention, debates and National Voter Registration Day, among others. In these cases, we are prioritizing inventory with very high reach — in some cases including the YouTube Masthead which typically reaches 50-60 million individuals in a single day — and inventory that reaches specific audiences, such as Complex for our African American audience track and Univision to reach our Spanish-speaking Latino track. These placements also often include highly visible ad units, such as homepage takeovers, which leverage our messaging before these important moments in the political calendar.


  • Unprecedented Voter Education Program – The 2020 election was already shaping up to be an unprecedented one, and then the COVID-19 pandemic raised the stakes even further. People who have never considered voting anywhere other than at their polling place on Election Day — including substantial parts of the Biden base that have been hardest hit by COVID-19, like communities of color — are now coming to terms with the fact that their ability to participate in this fall’s election will be affected by COVID-19. We will launch an unprecedented paid media voter education effort to ensure our supporters know the options available to them when it comes to making their vote count.


  • Sophisticated Mobilization Starting Early – And when it comes time to turn voters out, whether that’s voting safely in person, by mail, or at a drop-off location we will place ads on high traffic digital touch points where we know we can find large digital audiences, like on “first stop” streaming audio or gaming apps, platforms users log-on at the start of their day. This program will start as early vote windows open and run through election day. The volume of our buy and targeting will be tailored to the specific voting calendar of our high priority states.

Key Constituencies:
Our campaign is taking no voter for granted. As such, as part of our reservation, we are making sizable commitments to key constituency groups.

African American Media – We will be making a sizable commitment to African American targeted media across TV, radio, digital, and print media. Our campaign understands the importance of the role African American media outlets and personalities play in informing and educating the Black community. The campaign is increasing the investment in advertising with African American media over previous election cycles to emphasize Biden’s commitment to speak to and meet Black voters where they are. We will partner with African American-owned media outlets, both nationally and locally, to ensure we are creating a surround-sound conversation both in advertising and local social media voices as well.

  • On Television: We’ll reserve national airtime time on BET, TV1, Bounce, and OWN. Through these networks, even at moderate levels, we can reach approximately half of all African American households. We will also reserve at the state + local level honing in on African American skewing programming
  • Digital: Our digital reservation will reserve inventory on Complex, Blavity, Vevo, iHeart, and Pandora.
  • Radio: Nationally, we will reserve unique high value placements, like in-show sponsorships. Locally, we’ll get into programming that reaches large audiences during moments of high listenership.

Reaching Latino Voters – In many markets, the Hispanic audience is typically split among younger English-heavier speakers and older Spanish speakers. Our media program will invest in both English-language and Spanish-language paid media across TV, digital, and radio outlets. We’ll reserve a large bulk of advertising across Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Virginia. We’ll also make investments in Latino paid media in Pennsylvania and North Carolina as well.

  • Local Television: Will seek out opportunities for sports, entertainment specials, VOD, and addressable to ensure we’re covering all niche programming.
  • Radio: Tap into key local influencers to deliver localized messages.
  • Digital: Reaching Hispanic & Latino voters by targeting news content on Univision, Mitu, Pandora, & Vevo, and leveraging Hispanic ad networks to target bilingual and Spanish dominant speakers.
  • Culturally Competent Creative: Our creative will feature voiceover talent that speaks to the diverse Latino population, like using a voice of Mexican-descent in Arizona, and a voice of Puerto Rican-descent in Orlando and Tampa.

Reaching AAPI Voters – We will launch a cross-platform advertising campaign to reach AAPI voters as well, leveraging localized print, radio and localized TV to ensure we are both engaging persuadable voters, and mobilizing members of the AAPI community to vote.

Reaching AAPIs through community ethnic media is an integral component of our comprehensive strategy that would allow the campaign to reach AAPI voters in battleground states, especially those who the campaign may not be able to reach through traditional voter outreach efforts. Reaching these voters could increase the party’s margin of victory in closely-contested battleground states (like Nevada) since the AAPI community votes Democratic by a very wide margin.

Seniors & Young Voters – We will also launch and maintain dedicated lines of communication with Seniors and Young Voters. For seniors, we’ve already launched a targeted advertising track featuring a testimonial of a woman who lost her grandmother. We’ll reserve media to maintain this track of creative, while also launching a Youth advertising program, spanning digital and TV. Our campaign is pursuing all avenues to connect with younger voters – influencer programs, experiential marketing, and a substantive digital program to reach younger voters where they are, like expanding our paid social media presence with younger skewing apps like Snapchat. Additionally, during big campaign moments (Debates), and big voter mobilization moments (when ballots drop in a given state), we will scale up our buy and execute high impact takeovers to meet younger voters where they are.

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