'You have to rethink campaign regulations, including the ban ... You have to rethink the advertising regulation around digital media so that is more equitable," says Argentinian social scientist.
While nearly half of Argentina’s children are living in poverty and overall poverty has increased by almost eight percent since 2015, electoral incumbent, President Mauricio Macri is spending some US$13,390 per day in digital campaigns to try to remain in the nation’s presidential palace.
On Aug. 11, Argentinians will go to the primary polls in order to decide the final candidates for the upcoming October elections.
While polls have Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, ahead of any other team by five percent, President Mauricio Macri and his Cambiemos party have been trying to change that by spending thousands of dollars in Youtube campaign banners for the head of state’s campaign.
Pagina 12 media says that for the past several weeks, Youtube ‘masthead’ banners in Argentina have been monopolized by Macri. This means that each Youtube user located in Argentina, upon entering the video platform, is always met with a Macri promo at the top of his or her computer screen.
“The masthead is one of several advertising formats that we have available and were used by various politicians throughout the election year," Google Argentina told Pagina 12.
According to the news agency, the current Macri administration would have had to book these spots, well in advance. Pagina 12 calculates that, with the number of banners used and the frequency with which they change, his party spent hundreds of thousands for the ad space.
Though Argentina’s National Electoral Law prohibits candidates from campaigning during the four days leading up to any election, the law does not account for digital and Internet promos.
The latest National Survey of Cultural Consumption, carried out in 2017 by the Cultural Information System of Argentina (Sinca), found that Argentinians, on average, consume 4:29 hours of Internet per day.
"We don’t have exact figures, but it seems that there has been a very significant increase in investment in digital media, not only on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook,” but also in Twitter, says Santiago Marino, Ph.D., expert in state advertising investment. The president’s spots and those of Cambiemos governor of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal.
The position of these banner posts guarantees a 20 percent greater visibility than any other post, and assures the ads will get a ‘click’ 50 percent of the time, allowing the highest bidder the most access to voters online.
“This campaign, for the first time, had special promos that targeted the specific social segments of each social media platform. This was exploited like never before,” Marino told Pagina 12.
“I think you have to rethink campaign regulations, including the ban ... You have to rethink the advertising regulation around digital media that is more equitable," says the ad expert.
Two months ago, legislation was passed that allows, for the first time in Argentina, candidates to receive private donations of up to 4.5 million pesos per donor.