Preface: I do not have cable television. According to global market research and public opinion specialist Ipsos, only 1 in 5 Millennials (19%) use cable TV, compared to nearly half of all Baby Boomers (49%). I fit right in with the rest of my generation. Because of this, I was oblivious to the New Mexico Department of Health’s reckless commercial spending until I received an anonymous tip.
Last week, a Rio Grande Foundation supporter expressed concerns that the NMDOH was running commercials on local television stations encouraging New Mexicans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “Jane Doe” explicitly pointed to the repetitive nature of the commercials: sometimes they ran twice or more during the same commercial break.
After some digging, this version of the advertisement on NMDOH’s official YouTube channel was found. Confirming with Jane that this ad was indeed the same ad she had seen, an official request to inspect public records was submitted to DOH: how much money was spent on the production of the commercial and how much was spent on buying airtime?
“I am seeking to inspect each and every receipt for payments made by the New Mexico Department of Health for placement of these advertisements on any television network between January 1, 2021 and February 22, 2022.”
During the 14 month period from January 2021 to February 2022, NMDOH spent $20,074,331.01 on production and distribution of the commercial. 100% of these payments were made to Real Time Solutions, a self-described web based business solutions provider in Albuquerque.
13 separate invoices ranging from $319,473.48 to $3,372,899.06 were paid by NMDOH. All of the original invoices have been made available for you to inspect yourself.
A revised request was submitted this morning to include all spending between January 2020 and February 2022.