Political ads on TV ramp up tussle for a handful of votes in Brazil

President Bolsonaro’s successful use of social media in the 2018 presidential campaign has led some to think that electoral ads on TV and radio are outdated. But marketers say the power of TV airtime on undecided voters should not be underestimated

political ads tv radio
People watch political ads on television in a São Paulo restaurant during the 2018 election. Photo: Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress

Brazil’s 2022 campaign officially started last week, when electoral law allowed candidates to explicitly start soliciting votes. However, a major part of the election season only begins on Friday, August 26, as candidates will be able to air political ads on TV and radio.

Legislation requires television stations to provide free airtime to candidates of all parties during a campaign. The amount of airtime is divided proportionally according to their party’s benches in Congress. Candidates in larger coalitions get more time, while some campaigns are restricted to ads that last just a few seconds. Literally.

In the 2018 elections, Jair...

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