Obama spends millions on half-hour primetime ad

LONDON - Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has spent millions of dollars to show a 30-minute long campaign infomercial on primetime network television on October 27, less than a week before Election Day.

The Obama campaign has completed deals to show the programme about his candidacy on the US networks CBS and NBC, while similar deals with ABC and Fox are also in the offing.

The move illustrates the spending power and flexibility of Obama's campaign after he decided to forgo public financing, which imposes spending limits in return for matching federal money.

In doing so, Obama has raised huge sums of money on the internet. In August alone, Obama raised more than $67m (£40m) through online donations from the public.

McCain, who is a participant in the federal system, which caps total general election spending at $84m (£50m), has had a hard time matching Obama's election blitz.

The Obama programme is scheduled to run at 8pm next to 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' on CBS and the first half of the new version of 'Knight Rider' on NBC.

The value of the deals has not been disclosed, but it is estimated that buying all the normal commercial breaks between 8pm and 8.30pm on a Wednesday night on one network would cost about $1m.

The move is not unprecedented, as it was not uncommon for presidential candidates during the early days of television to block book big slots.

The last candidate to use the format was Ross Perot in 1992, when he used the time to detail his plan to cut the deficit before an audience of 16.5m people.

Watch the election ads and Paris Hilton's latest viral video, released yesterday, in the Brand Republic blog Electioneering Stateside.