Political ad spending: Clive Palmer’s UAP splashing big ahead of federal election

Clive Palmer is appearing to be sticking to his words in January that he is set to run the “most expensive political campaign in history” with new political spend data provided by Nielsen.

For the month of March, as of the evening of 29 March, the United Australia Party has spent $9,674,757 across print, TV and radio, with the official federal election cycle still yet to be called.

During the same period, the Labor party has spent $540,143, the Liberal party $467,337 and the Greens $62,275.

Next week, Nielsen will be launching an election HQ with weekly spend updates.

In January, it was reported that the mining magnate would spent upwards of $80 million in the upcoming election, after investing $53.6 million across the 2019 federal election campaign.

Palmer’s political media investment has flipped trends on its head, with spend increasing from $15.9 million overall across all parties and bodies in 2016 to $82 million in 2019.

In January, the UAP was the nation’s top digital spender across all categories, in data from Pathmatics, spending just north of $5 million.

A Google transparency report also shows political spending across all of its platforms since 15 November, with the UAP dwarfing all other political parties.

Poltiical spend across all Google platforms and channels

A report in last month’s Sydney Morning Herald said that Palmer has spent more than $31 million since August on political attack advertising for his United Australia Party.

The advertising sending spree was described as “obscene” and “dangerous for democracy” by former Appeal Court judge and chair of the Centre for Public Integrity, Anthony Whealy, QC.

In January, a Pearman Media report said: “It feels like a broken record, but the Government spend has once again supported much of the growth. It accounts for 23% of the additional spend and the Government increased its year-on-year January spend by 51%, spending $51m in Jan’ 22.

Political spend looks set to continue to boost the Australian industry through the next eight weeks.

As founder and chairman of Atomic 212, Barry O’Brien wrote in January for Mumbrella, the election “shapes as a smorgasbord that will help some particularly skinny organisations put a bit of meat on their bones after 24 months of Covid-enforced fasting.”

On this week’s Mumbrellacast, the team discussed the upcoming federal election, political spending trends and how publishers and platforms can prevent misinformation. 


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