Friday, September 12, 2014

Proofread everything - Even your own name

Did I tell you about the campaign where the candidate's mail had him running for office in a completely different town? That guy didn't proofread his own materials.

Better than doing it yourself (though you are ultimately responsible, so do it yourself too) is to have a good proofreader in the form of a trusted staffer with a good eye and spelling skills do it for you.

A fresh set of eyes on the mailer before it goes to the printer and when the proof comes back can catch something your jaded set of peepers might just miss. Like when you, or your mail consultant,  spells your own name wrong. This happened. A candidate named, let's say Alison, had a consultant who created some eye catching mail with a logo that read "Vote for Allison." See the problem?

When Alison looked at, she wasn't looking at the spelling of her name. She was looking for typos in endorsement names, or punctuation errors, something she was good at, having been an English teacher for 20 years.

It wasn't until the mail was printed and sitting in people's mailboxes, that she caught the error, on the mail that arrived in her own mailbox.

Then it was obvious. Luckily most people wouldn't notice the difference between one l Alison and two l Allison. But the guy with the wrong town? You can bet people noticed that!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Consultants - Are they a shady crowd?

I got to thinking about consultants and whether they are, or seem to be, more "shady" than those in other professions. As a member of this profession, I like to think of myself as ethical and anything but shady. Unfortunately, I have come across too many of my brethren and, less frequently, sisthren (not a word I know), who might be less than totally above board. Even in small local races.

An example. The guy who laundered his own client's money to sent out a gratuitous hit piece full of outright lies and slander about his opponent in a water board race. Through a labyrinthine process by which the money went all over the state and eluded disclosure at several levels, it took five years for the truth to out. The candidate, now the sitting water board member got a slap on the wrist in the form of piddling $5000 fine. He's still there.

How about the guy who took the name of a well known and well regarded, but languishing organization and made his own slate card out of it to benefit his wife, running for a City Council race? How about imaginary money for work he did on her campaign and claimed was paid for by a loan - from her.

Then there's the one who stole a campaign from yours truly, lost the race, then came up to me at a party where he was attempting to again wrest a client away, and flashed his materials (the ones that lost the previous race remember) under my nose.

Some consultants just have gall.