Labor cut the number of TV ads it ran during the election by almost 50%, and was outspent by the Liberals by $2.7m over the five week campaign, as the new government increased its activity by 15%.
According to Ebiquity the Liberals splashed $6.75m on their campaign, with Labor spending $4.04m and Clive Palmer the third biggest spender with $3.021m, as he looks set to win a parliamentary seat.
Despite the last week being curtailed on electronic media with an enforced blackout from midnight on September 4 all parties splashed most of their cash in those few days, with the Liberals ramping up 50% of their spend, and the Greens 74%.
Managing director Asia Pacific of Ebiquity, Richard Basil-Jones, said: “There is no doubt that donors flooded the Liberal Party with funds to spend on the campaign in the expectation they would win, which has worked in reverse with the Labor Party whose advertising fell away this year.”
The fourth largest spender over the campaign was the Australian Salary Packaging Industry Association (ASPIA), which actually outspent the Greens and the unions with $1.4m, which was campaigning over the fringe benefit tax changes proposed by the Rudd government.
Palmer spent the most on a single ad – dropping 1.782m on ‘Revolution’, with the Liberal’s ‘Captain Chaos’ ad second with $1.267m, and ASPIA third with 1.093m on ‘Who’s Next?’. Labor’s biggest spend was $999,000 on ‘You Lose’, fifth overall.
In terms of the tone of the ads Labor led the negative advertising charge at the start of the campaign, putting out 21 different negative ads to the Liberals’ ten, but the Libs bigger spend meant they actually screened nearly twice as many negative adverts overall.