Shop Talk: Mad Men

Posted July 30, 2008 at 6:33pm

Media buyers. They’re less well-known than most political consultants, and there are fewer of them.

[IMGCAP(1)]But in figuring out when and where to run a television ad in order to maximize its political effect, media consultants — and by extension, their candidate clients — rely on a buyer’s expertise to ensure that a beautifully crafted ad and the message it carries actually reaches targeted voters.

Media buyers spend their time crunching Nielsen ratings, demographic statistics and other numbers to determine on what station, and during which program, an ad should be placed to achieve the desired maximum exposure. There are some media consultants who choose to do their buying in-house.

According to an informal poll of some Washington, D.C., media consultants — both Democrats and Republicans — who work with buyers, a few names bubble to the surface. Like other political consultants, media buyers who

place orders for political ads tend to be partisan.

On the Democratic side, many D.C. media strategists like to work with Catherine Herrick at Buying Time. Herrick founded the firm after a stint at Squier Knapp Dunn (now McMahon Squier Lapp and Associates), where she served as media director.

Also a favorite of some Democratic media consultants is Jeff Scattergood, who works for Barbara Abar and Shelli Hutton at Abar Hutton Media. Prior to joining Abar Hutton, Scattergood interned at the Democratic National Committee. Hutton worked with Abar at Doak, Shrum and Associates.

Brad Perseke, of the Democratic political consulting firm GMMB, is another Democratic media buyer of choice. Perseke is a partner with GMMB and the director of its media division. In his work at GMMB, Perseke has directed media buying and placement for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Among Republicans, National Media’s Robin Roberts and Kathleen Jones get high marks, as does Mike Dubke of Cross Roads Media, Dave Neal of Strategic Media and Kyle Roberts of Smart Media.

National Media, Strategic Media and Cross Roads Media are some of the bigger GOP media-buying firms, and they tend to have the larger client rosters. Smart Media is more of a boutique, or specialty, GOP media-buying firm.

In the Bag-ich? Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), already leading Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in recent polls on their expected general election matchup, looks to be in an even better position in that race, should it materialize, now that the incumbent has been indicted on seven counts of making false statements on his financial disclosure forms.

Guiding Begich in his campaign are some old hands as well as some entrenched D.C. advisers.

Among them are Campaign Manager Heather Rauch, who managed Begich’s 2003 and 2006 mayoral campaigns; Communications Director and Press Secretary Julie Hasquet, who worked as Begich’s mayoral communications director for almost five years before moving to the Senate campaign in April; and Finance Director John Vezina, who held the same position for Tony Knowles (D) in both his 2004 Senate race and 2006 gubernatorial bid — both of which were losing efforts.

Begich’s D.C. consultants include Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners; the Democratic media consulting firm Murphy Putnam Media; Jen Hansen Muller of Benchmark Strategies; and direct-mail consultant Joe Hansen of Ambrosino, Muir & Hansen, which also has offices in Boston and San Francisco.

On Mc-Call. Republican operative Chris Homan has been hired to advise Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in his 10th district re-election campaign, specifically to provide grass-roots consulting.

Homan is currently the chief consultant for former Senate aide Pete Olson’s (R) campaign to unseat Rep. Nick Lampson (D) in the suburban Houston 22nd district. He is a former campaign adviser to ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R), who held the 22nd district until he resigned from office in June 2006.

Homan was hired by McCaul’s campaign team because of his success leading Olson to victory in the 22nd district GOP primary and subsequent runoff contest, and particular because of his expertise in navigating the GOP grass-roots community in the greater Houston region. McCaul’s district stretches from Austin in the east to Houston in the west.

Also advising McCaul in his race against attorney and former television personality Larry Joe Doherty (D) is general consultant Ted Delisi, a Republican operative based in Texas; media consultant David Weeks, another Lone Star State Republican; and GOP pollster Mike Baselice, who is based in Austin.

Map Maker, Map Maker, Make Me a Map. Americans for Redistricting Reform, a new umbrella group for organizations interested in overhauling how federal House districts are drawn, has launched.

Among the ARR’s Advisory Committee member organizations are the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, the Committee for Economic Development, Common Cause, the Council for Excellence in Government, FairVote, the League of Women Voters, the Reform Institute, the Republican Main Street Partnership and U.S. PIRG.

On Wednesday, the group sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging her to hold hearings held on pending legislation to overhaul the redistricting process. Those bills include H.R. 543, the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, introduced by Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), and H.R. 2248, the Redistricting Reform Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).

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