With the Republican Convention in full swing and the Democratic Convention on the horizon, political advertisements will soon be unleashed in full force. Anywhere you might be influenced, you can guarantee that candidates will  seek to influence your vote.  Their appeals and advertisements will vary from encouragement to vote, to amazing candidate biographies to stances on policy issues, all with the intent to sway your sentiments. It’s been noted many times in our blog that the unaffiliated voter in Colorado always plays a large part in deciding if a candidate wins or loses. Direct mail is a tried and true method of political communication, and will be used to the extreme this year to garner this coveted voting segment.

I am a 29 year old, unaffiliated, female voter in Colorado that works as a Polling Project Manager here at Magellan Strategies. I’m the coveted vote. Political parties and their affiliated independent expenditure committees will be targeting me furiously this election cycle. And, goodness, do they know how to make a woman feel special…bombarding my mailbox and social media ads with flashy sentiments on how they’re working for me. They want me to say yes, but I’m withholding my affection for the right issues and right candidates. So, what’s the guide to winning me over? What issues am I passionate about?

Here’s how you win me over, politicians: talk to me about your positions on reproductive rights, education, and growing the economy.  Fiscal conservatism appeals to me, but I sure wish the government would stay out of my lady parts. I want your ads to be smart and clear. I want your mailers to be professional and respectable. I don’t have time for the cheap or faint of heart. Incite my passion for your cause! Don’t use silly graphics or grainy photos. Tell me the issues. Tell me your cause. Give me a reason to believe that you’re what’s best for me. I wish you all the best, moving into November on winning me over. I have high expectations and refuse to compromise. And so, dear politicians, let the wooing begin!

The following direct mail pieces from the 2014 election cycle are ones that I think are effective, and let me explain why they resonate with me.

This mailer was put out by Generation Opportunity, a grassroots organization to encourage 18-34 year old voters to take Iphone_frontresponsibility for their future and drive progress for themselves as well as the nation. Generation Opportunity was very clever in making the mailing look like a smartphone.  The reminders on the front of the brochure are encouraging people to vote to make a difference for our future.  The back of the brochure details a text conversation between a mother and her child.  The child is encouraging the mother to vote, despite her “hectic day at the office.”  The child is pleading with the mother to vote to create change for younger generations by referencing employment rates, college affordability, and debt.  The child says they’re going to text their father and encourages his mother to tell her office to get out and vote.  This ad encourages the younger generation of voters to influence the people in their lives to vote on issues that will impact their future.  With the use of the smartphone graphic, the ad appeals to younger voters.  The text messages channel the text speak of younger generations so the ad quite literally “speaks for them.”

Why I like it:

  • Concise messaging
  • Appeals to the zeitgeist (culture and mood of the time)
  • Call to action

Generation Opportunity also put out this get-out-the-vote mailer featuring Uncle Sam.  This graphic appeals to the duty DUTY_TO_VOTE_FRONTcitizens have to their country and also a nostalgia for a different time. Life is always simpler in another time.  The front of the mailing features Uncle Sam with the following language: “I WANT YOU TO SERVE YOUR COUNTRY,” and “I WANT YOU TO VOTE.” The capitalized letters demand action and imply a specific request.  The use of second person gets personal and allows the reader to see this as a personal request to make a different for their country.  On the reverse side of the advertisement, there is a picture of the Statue of Liberty with language about the privileged of being an American and the right to vote.  The mailing concludes with a call to action: “BE A TRUE AMERICAN. VOTE BY MAIL TODAY.” This mail piece channels nostalgia and a duty to country, which appeals to all demographics of voters.

Why I like it:

  • Concise messaging
  • Nostalgia for a time when people thought the government was working for them
  • Call to action

Personhood Amendment 67

Amendment 67 was on the ballot in 2014 regarding a definition of personhood. The Vote No 67 Campaign sent out a mail piece regarding their mission to ensure this measure didn’t pass. The front of the mailer features four women in what looks like a police lineup with personal testimonials regarding their reproductive history which varies from rape to miscarriage and patient treatment for a pregnancy that went terribly wrong.  The back of the mailer goes on to include verbiage from the Amendment text with clear messaging on why the measure should be voted down.  This advertisement appeals to the personal as political and calls for women to disallow their bodies to be used to further the political agenda. The only critique of this piece is the lack of diversity in the women pictured if they are seeking to appeal to a broad range of female voters. These issues effect all women.

unaffiliated female voter

Why I like it:

  • Appeals to my passion about reproductive rights
  • Gets personal on how women are affected
  • Clearly outlines the language of the Amendment and ramifications of the measure

COMMON CORE

The Senate Majority Fund sponsored an ad about the Common Core and the implications this type of curriculum has for our common_core_apple
children in the classroom.  The advertisement features an apple core that’s browning and slumped.  It plays on the old adage of “rotten to the core” with the addition of “common” to the message.  It questions if this curriculum is killing creativity in the classroom. As I mentioned before, education is one of the areas I’m passionate about, so the citations provided on the back of the brochure from education experts provide clear rational as to why this teaching methodology is failing our students.

Why I like it:

  • Adaptation of a well know adage
  • Effective visual
  • Clear implications of the Common Core in the classroom

 

 

Each of these advertisement has different goals and different issues; however, what makes each of them effective is their appeal to the individual voter, and a call to action to ensure that their opinion is heard.  Each advertisement is simple and visually appealing.  The language is clear and concise; the reader is not wading through the passages trying to figure out what the message is targeting. Each advertisement should encourage the recipient to do more research to understand all sides of the issues.