Saturday, August 17, 2013

Make Good Use of Your Signs - Burma Shave!

You know the adage - Sign don't vote. It's true, so true, but one year, when I was the candidate and my good friend and co-conspirator in all things campaign (and so much more), Ginny decided Burma Shave signs would be fun and informative at the same time.  They would be sure to attract attention.

Burma Shave for those of you not in the know was a brand of brushless shaving cream started in the 20's, which came up with a clever ploy for advertising their product, roadside signs in rhyme, ending with Buy Burma Shave! The ads ran until the 60's.

Ginny said, "I know what let's do let's get some of my rancher friends to let us use their fences to put signs on." So we did. Ginny was active in saving West Marin County (California) ranchland, so knew all the old timers, who were happy to oblige such an engaging proposition.

The signs said "Someone to Listen" "Someone to Hear" "A new Supervisor" "Is needed this year" "Vote for Dotty!"
 This was not only great fun, but it got attention. Did it get votes? Not sure, as I did not win the election (although I did reasonably well).  But I got the bug from those signs and that campaign, and voila, my campaign consulting firm was launched.

So far, I have not made use of the Burma Shave idea in any of the campaigns I've run. But who knows, I might do it again. You can too.

Signs with a message. And some humor.  That's better. Than any rumor. Vote!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What's on the back of YOUR Campaign Mailer?

 Don't waste your back page

You work like a beaver, whittling down your message to three or four short, cogent bullet points for the inside of your mailer.  You hone the front cover with precision to make it clever, graphically interesting, arresting, mysterious even, to make sure the voter opens to see the message inside.  Then you turn to the back cover. Well, you have to stick the label on her somewhere, the right size and shape the Post Office dictates. You have all this left over space you need to fill up somehow. I know, let's put the long list of endorsers here, in small type just in case anyone really wants to see if their friends and relations are supporting you.  Or maybe a throwaway line we couldn't fit on the inside.

A picture of the candidate and her family on that camping trip last summer? Maybe even a couple of endorser organization logos or a testimonial or two.

Take a tip from junk mail

But wait! Are we forgetting something?  Look at your mail, I mean the every day mail that arrives in your mailbox. Unless you have a mail slot and the mail lands in a pile all willy nilly, it's probably in there label side up, right? The mailman has to sort the mail by address. So he's going to be carrying it with the label up.  On most first class mail, that's the front.  On most second class (junk) mail and political mail, that's the back.

Look at your junk mail. Hmm. Big sale at Macy's! announced on the back of their catalog.  Save 20% on front end alignment!, in bold on the back of the Big O Tires postcard.  Retailers have learned the art of the back page.

Many candidates and their mail consultants have not. How many mailers have you received from candidates with columns of names or boring pictures, with not even the campaign logo or an intriguing quip to whet your interest in what's inside? Yes, I know if you are reading this you won't let a little thing like the way the mail lands in the box keep you from a juicy campaign mailer. But most voters are not like you.  Many will go ho hum, here's another piece of junk mail, and toss it without even turning it over. Some will turn it over to see the front, and hopefully, they are hooked enough to at least register the name.  Others will open it and read. But that's a three step process. Why count on the voters to do all that work, when you could save them at least one step by using the back page to graphically pitch at least part of your message?  An intriguing photo, a pithy quote, a question? 

Jazz it up! 

For your next campaign, don't think, "Oh, it's just the back page;" instead think "Hmm, this may be my first chance to engage the voter."  Then do it with pizzazz!