Marketing

Colbert PAC Concentrates on Creative

2/06/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Political ads produced by Steven Colbert’s Americans
for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC are clearly all about
the creative, though that is all that’s clear in
the Colbert Super PAC world, which is now attacking
Colbert’s own mock candidacy.

A handful of ads have been showcased on
his show, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central,
and on its website, colbertnation.com, but
so far the PAC’s expenditures on the creative
for the ads has far outstripped any media buys.

The idea all along was for Colbert to use the
PAC, and the humorous ads, as a device to address
the Super PAC issue on his show. Super
PACs are the independent expenditure
committees created by the Supreme Court’s
Citizens United decision, which held that unlimited
amounts of corporate and union money
could be spent to elect or defeat federal
candidates.

According to Federal Election Commission
figures, Colbert’s PAC has raised more than
$1 million and had more than $673,000 in
the bank. Money has come in from bankers, factory workers, soldiers,
doctors, computer programmers and a group identified as the “Sticky
Fingers Band,” according to the Sunlight Foundation,
which tracks PAC expenditures.

While Colbert Report airtime and production
costs associated with segments about
the PAC fall under a press exemption for inkind
contributions, which would otherwise
need to be reported, the PAC’s costs for producing
and paying for any ads that the PAC
actually buys media time to run on air must
be reported.

According to the latest from the FEC, Colbert’s
PAC has spent an estimated $50,000 on
ad production costs in the past three weeks but
only made $3,000 worth of media buys: a $750
buy opposing Mitt Romney, a similar sum on
an ad opposing Newt Gingrich, and $1,500 for
a new ad that supports Herman Cain, who is
no longer running, by attacking Colbert, who
at the time was pretending to run, sort of, in the
South Carolina Republican primary.

Gators Find NYC Home
In Chelsea, Not Sewers:
Market Gets ‘Swamped’

Stars of the hit History series
Swamp People were in
New York’s Chelsea Market
last Thursday (Feb. 2), helping
the network open a veritable
pop-up flooded forest
promoting Louisiana tourism
and the show’s return on
Feb. 9 at 9 p.m.

By stars, The Wire
means Bruce Mitchell,
also known as The Alligator Man, who hunts
gators in the show with the help of his dog,
Tyler, as well as 10 live examples of Mitchell’s
reptilian prey, including a cuddly fourfooter
named Addie that he carried around
(with its mouth bound shut) for some local
P.S. 150 second-graders to pet and ask
questions of, such as, “Is that real?”

History previously raised awareness of
the show, which averaged 4.1 million viewers
in season two, in the Big Apple by putting
fake manhole covers on city sidewalks
with fake gators crawling out of them.

After opting to up the ante with this 11-day
exhibit, the network reached out to Louisiana
Tourism
, which would love to attract more
visitors to the show’s Atchafalaya River Basin
setting and other areas.

“Not all of Louisiana is a swamp,” Lt. Gov.
Jay Dardenne
said at the “Swamp in the City”
exhibit that opened Feb. 2,
explaining that local cuisine,
such as the gumbo that
chef John Folse spooned
out, and the Zydeco music
that Sac Au Lait played in
the background were other
good reasons to visit.

Senior vice president of
development and programming
Dirk Hoogstra said
History was “thankful to be there in frankly
what I think is one of the most beautiful
places in the world.”

Mitchell told The Wire his Atchafalaya
home hasn’t been overrun with tourists, but
said he and fellow castmates Trapper Joe,
Troy Landry and the rest are enjoying newfound
fame: “We never meet a stranger.
Everywhere we go, everybody knows us. And
we’re just having fun with it.”

Landry, featured in History’s “Swamper
Bowl” ad Sunday (Feb. 5), will be at the Chelsea
swamp Feb. 7-8; Trapper Joe and Tommy
were slated to appear Feb. 5-6.

SUPER SAVE

WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Fla., reported last
week that local Cox Communications technician
John Cooley spotted something shiny
on the ground during a service call. Turned
out to be a 2011 Super Bowl championship
ring belonging to Green Bay Packers offensive
lineman Josh Sitton. Cooley returned it,
and Sitton (who hadn’t noticed it was missing)
gave thanks.

September