Editor's note: This election cycle, Westword is exploring the public records of television stations for information on how candidates are spending money on ads in Denver.
Joe Coors, your average local candidate for Congress who is not a beer, appears to be trying to secure support from an unusual voting bloc -- the viewers of The Big Bang Theory.
That's right, Joe Coors and The Big Bang Theory -- this is what Westword's latest plunge into the public records of political ad spending at local television stations has uncovered.
We've spent much of our time analyzing Denver ad spending by the Obama and Romney campaigns as well as the controversial super PACs supporting the presidential races. But digging through the file cabinets of the major TV stations, it's hard to ignore Joe Coors.
A Republican and great grandson of Adolph Coors, founder of his family's namesake beer company, Coors is running to represent Colorado's 7th congressional district, which includes Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn, Commerce City and Federal Heights. (Editor's note: The preceding boundaries have been corrected from the original post. We regret the error.) He is hoping to unseat Democrat Ed Perlmutter.
Next to folders with presidential campaign spending records are files for Coors. They show that at three of the major Denver metro area stations, he has already spent more than $300,000 total on ads. (Note that we did not get to every station in the area).
At Channel 2 (KWGN), his strategy seems clear: The Big Bang Theory. Every single ad buy from Coors for Congress on file at this channel was for a spot during this sitcom. We, of course, don't know anything about the actual strategy behind the placement of these ads, but the records are clear. We can speculate, though, that these kinds of ad placement decisions are directly related to audience size and not necessarily specific content.
Either way, here's what we found after crunching the numbers.
At KWGN, there were a total of five ad buys on record when we visited a little over a week ago. These contract dates covered a period from late May to early July. The total cost for these was $27,600 for 23 spots.
On the contract, all of these spots aired during The Big Bang Theory. These are these-second spots running somewhere between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
While the Big Bang connection jumped out at us, Coors actually spent the most money at 9News/KUSA, which, according to records, typically has the largest market share out of the local stations.
At KUSA, Coors for Congress had five ad buys on record, totaling $229,600, for a sum of 215 spots. These ad contract dates also cover late May to early July.
Meanwhile, records at Fox31 (KDVR) -- which is affiliated with KWGN and located in the same building -- showed that Coors had five orders, costing a total of $76,950 for 68 spots.
Page down to see a response from the Coors campaign as well as a full summary of all of Coors' ad buys at these three stations.
Coors spokeswoman Michelle Yi sent Westword this statement yesterday afternoon in response to the ads:
This is Joe's first time running for office, while his opponent is a two-term state senator seeking his fourth term in Congress. These TV ads introduce Joe and his background as a manufacturer and job creator here in Jefferson County to a mass audience. We have less than 130 days to make the case for him to be the next Congressman for the Seventh Congressional District and these ads help to do just that.
It'll be interesting to see how much the Coors campaign spends later this summer and into the fall, when the race to unseat Perlmutter really heats up.
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Below, you can find a clean summary of our notes on Coors's spending at each station. In it, you'll find the contract dates for each order, followed by the total number of spots, and the total gross amount.
5/29-6/4, 41 spots, $39,650
6/5-6/11, 37 spots, $41,550
6/12-6/18, 47 spots, $44,850
6/19-6/26, 45 spots, $52,550
6/27-7/2, 45 spots, $51,000
6/27-7/2,12 spots, $12,350
6/19-6/26, 11 spots, $11,900
6/12-6/18, 14 spots, $17,800
6/5-6/11, 18 spots, $17,200
5/29-6/4, 13 spots, $17,700
KWGN, i.e. The Big Bang Theory
5/29-6/4, 5 spots, $6,000
6/5-6/11, 5 spots, $6,000
6/12-6/18, 5 spots, $6,000
6/19-6/26, 4 spots, $4,800
6/27-7/2, 4 spots, $4,800
Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.