Voters aren’t that stupid

Dear Political campaign manager,

If there’s one certain way to get a voter to disbelieve your candidate, it is the inane, silly postcards like these you send out. Having dumped hundreds of these in the recycling bin without so much as glancing at them, I would like you to know that I will most certainly vote for the person you vilify because (a) Your communication skills and your morals probably line up with your candidate, and (b) If the only thing you want me to remember are the ‘dark secrets’ of others then you do not seem to have a leg to stand on.

Are you in marketing? Or did you just learn Photoshop over the weekend? You do not deserve to represent anyone but the scorpions that occasionally show up during this time of year.

That is why I wanted to shine a black light on your work so that when your candidate loses, you will at least know why.

We voters aren’t that stupid. Grow up and go back to marketing school.

Don’t vote for these guys

As I made my short list of whom to vote for in my district & county, I struck out a few people for the simple reason that they have come off so negative. I get it. Negative ads move the needle a bit, but not where I come from.

There were a few other marketing-related reasons as well why I thought they don’t need to be in charge of things.

  • They use some very, very old, unverified databases – I get mailers to three versions of my name. I have two words for them: database cleansing.
  • They present half-truths (as verified here) that assume the voter is dumb, and that we only get our information from their 9″ x 6″ flyers.
  • They kill a lot of trees to get their message (fiscal conservativism, responsible stewards yada yada).
  • They use the same format, same size, possibly the same print company. Did they not get the memo: one size fits nobody? The guy who sent us hand-addressed “letters” from his wife? Oh, come on!
  • They have no clue about variable-data printing. If they need to ask what this is, their campaign staff don’t need my tax money.

Quotes for the week ending 11 October, 2008

“We have not had this much FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt – since 9/11.”

Dean Freeman, analyst at Gartner, on why technology stocks are being hit so hard.

“Humour and juxtaposition.”

Vancouver agency, Offsetters, commenting on the two tactics they use to get people to rethink the concept of global warming. They hung two inflatable lifeboats from a skyscraper, and placed a ‘lifeguard’ on the streets as part of the campaign.

“I don’t write for FOX viewers.”

Heather Mallick, on being criticized for likening Sarah Palin to a porn actress, in her column for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Every time so-called citizen journalism muffs one, I get such calls, as if to say, look what your bratty kid is up to now. Funny, I don’t get them – as a journalist – every time a reporter messes up.”

Jeff Jarvis, on being called upon by journalists, on the rumor that spread about Steve Jobs having a heart attack.

“I was just trying to keep Tina Fey in business.”

Sarah Palin, responding with a great sense of humor to the Saturday Night Live parody of her gaffe-ridden media interviews.

“Our intention here is not to repeat the metaphors about the glass being half full or half empty. It can’t be…”

Ad copy for Groupo Artplan, a Brazilian communication company, in a full page ‘open letter to Wall Street ad’ in the New York Times, saying “our democracy is consolidated, our economy is strong.” Sao Paulo suspended trading in its stock market twice that same day.

“Multitasking causes a kind of brownout in the brain. … all the lights go dim because there just isn’t enough power to go around.”

David Meyer, at the University of Michigan, quoted in a story on NPR, about how multitasking is ultimately unproductive.

“It links everybody together in this unholy chain.”

Interviewee on This American Life, a radio show by Ira Glass, explaining why the ‘credit default swap‘, a dubious financial instrument, made the financial crisis global and scary.

Widgets used to attack Obama.

It’s getting a bit testy, and confusing with McCain and Obama both being accused of flip-flopping. One’s a ‘maverick’, the other an agent of ‘change,’ which gives them some leeway to operate within these positions.

But instead of McCain’s campaign attacking Obama on this alone, it is going after Obama on Iraq, and why he has not visited the country in years. So what more horrific way to sharpen the point of the arrow than attach a widget to it. The widget being a clock that keeps track of the days, hours, minutes, seconds. Ouch!

Clock counting days since Barack Obama\'s last visit to Iraq It’s not unlike the typical countdown clock you’ve seen before New Year’s eve. But by putting it on the web site –and encouraging others to copy and paste the code on their blogs etc. — it is raising the noise level of the ‘time’ aspect, forcing it into the debate and forcing Obama to respond. At the time of writing, the time is 909 days.

There is a second widget –counting days since McCain invited Obama to town hall meetings (the one he did not rsvp.)

Using widgets is not new to politics.

  • There are widgets like this one (left) that track contributions to congressional leaders.
  • Another one keeps tab of their fund raising.

Oh, there are pro-Obama widgets like this one, and one created by CBC News, for instance. But the use of an attack widget strikes me as a bold new move in politics. Speeches can be transcribed, but they lose their bite a few days later. A widget with a time component makes it very compelling, even if it highlights a point of difference that’s not quite relevant to the choice we have to make at the election.