Lobbyists are now trying to reach President Trump directly via TV ads

Everyone knows by this point that the President spends a fair amount of his executive time watching television. (He comments on it on his Twitter account regularly.) With that in mind, it looks as if at least some lobbyists are trying to reach out directly to the White House through that medium with ads which seem suspiciously targeted to an exclusive audience of one individual.

For a case in point, a group named 340B Matters has recently released a new advertisement as part of their effort to prevent cuts to (or the elimination of) the 340B prescription drug program which primarily benefits older adults in rural areas by lowering their prescription drug prices. This description from Modern Healthcare makes it pretty clear who they are targeting.

A new ad campaign that aired Tuesday morning has jump-started Washington’s stalled debate over the 340B drug discount program again.

The ad is aimed at President Donald Trump and a specific proposal known as “patient definition” that has been floated in the administration’s drug pricing blueprint. HHS outlined the idea in its request for information, but the proposal has also been championed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).

In the new ad, a group of older adults including a man wearing a red ballcap with Trump’s signature Make America Great Again campaign phrase watch a television screen where Trump with HHS Secretary Alex Azar at his side announces the administration’s drug pricing strategy.

As Trump talks about lowering prices, the people nod in agreement. They examine a blueprint in their hands that is branded with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) logo and shake their heads. A voiceover says: “But now, big drug companies are trying to roll back 340B drug discount program, hiking drug prices for seniors.” The man with the Make America Great Again hat closes with a flash of text that reads: “Please don’t let Secretary Azar roll back 340B and raise drug prices on America’s seniors.”

Would you be shocked to find out that this advertisement is running on Fox News? Here’s the advertisement.

Could this be any more on the nose if it’s running on Fox in the morning when the President is almost guaranteed to be watching? The people in the room are Trump’s target demographic. They’ve even got a guy wearing a MAGA hat. They all nod approvingly at something the President is saying. This ad rings all the bells and hits Donald Trump right where they suspect it will do the most good, because there’s little question that the President enjoys having people agree with him and carry forward his Make America Great again message.

How much does an ad like this cost to produce and air? We don’t have an exact figure, but whatever the price it was no doubt worth it to them. Usually advertising gets spread around to hit the largest group of consumers possible. In this case, however, it seems obviously targeted at only one person and the group is willing to lay out a lot of cash to make sure he sees it.