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Watch The TV Ads Mayoral Candidates Are Test Driving On Social Media

Shelley Kofler
Texas Public Radio
Four leading mayoral candidates at a recent debate: Tommy Adkisson; Ivy Taylor; Leticia Van de Putte and Mike Villarreal

Two candidates for San Antonio mayor are using social media to create a buzz with videos they say they’re going to put on TV.

Former state representative Mike Villarreal became the first in the race to buy TV time this week.  Former Bexar county commissioner Tommy Adkisson and former state senator Leticia Van de Putte say they’re next.

Buying television time is expensive. Campaign consultants say it costs in the range of $100,000 to buy a week’s worth of significant TV time on San Antonio’s network affiliates and cable.

Villarreal has taken that plunge with an ad he plans to air through the May 9 election.

Adkisson and Van de Putte have been testing potential messages first online.

The former commissioner’s 30-second commercial is mostly a series of photographs set to a gunslinger-style soundtrack and a female voice that begins by saying:  “San Antonio our history is rich and our future can be prosperous. One candidate for mayor can bring us together and move us forward.”   

The relatively low budget ad features iconic places- the Riverwalk, historic missions, the city skyline.  There are photos of Adkisson at work and with citizens.

The only video zeros in on two hot-button issues and Adkisson’s opposition to both.

Ad:  “(He’s the) only candidate who opposes toll roads and streetcars.  Tommy says keep your money and let’s spend public money on small things that make a big difference.”

An Adkisson consultant says the candidate has loaned his campaign personal money for a TV buy.  Adkisson says it’s all about being competitive.  

“There are so many people in this city. Even though I’ve been here all my life they haven’t been here all their lives.  We don’t necessarily know each other. If I don’t go on the airwaves on TV I’m probably not being competitive,” he said.

In her 30-second ad Van de Putte tells viewers about her vision for the city.

Ad:  “It’s about time San Antonio had a mayor who can get the vital projects done,” she says as she looks into the camera.

She outlines her priorities: better infrastructure; parks and water; public safety; the arts and better paying jobs.

Ad:  “It’s a big agenda and I’ll be the mayor who will get it done.”

Van de Putte’s campaign has the most money by far for TV.  Her campaign manager Christian Archer says sending the TV ad first to her Facebook fans and a 100,000 person email list is part of the strategy.

“So we are going to give them a sneak peak at our TV ads.  But believe me, we are going to be on TV.  We’re going to be on network, on cable, on Spanish language.  We’ve got a really strong TV buy,” said Archer. 

Archer expects Van de Putte’s ad to be on TV next Monday. Adkisson says this week.  If all that happens the only one of the four leading candidates without a TV buy would be current mayor Ivy Taylor, who’s told Texas Public Radio she also expects to air ads on television. 

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.