What it isn’t… Lit drops Fundraising Letters Visibility: Billboards, Yard Signs, Bumper Stickers, etc .
The Average American gets: Bombarded with ads on tv, radio, newspaper, billboards, bathroom stalls, waiting rooms, the internet, buses, lottery tickets . . 3,000 exposures per day 188 messages per hour 3 per minute … every minute, every day
The danger: Too often campaigns run a bit of everything which means that nothing registers. Paid media fights a lot of clutter – so it needs lots of repetition to be heard. Target minimum frequency (of how many times a viewer sees the message) Television: 12 times/ad (6x/wk) = minimum of 1200 points per buy/600 points/week. This means that about 80% of average viewers will see the tv ad 12 times (if 1200 points). About 10% won’t see it; and about 10% will see it a lot more than 12 times. Radio: 12 times/ad (30 spots/wk) = Radio is also purchased as spots (and the spot price is determined by audience – the same as tv points). A minimum radio buy should be 30 spots per week per ad per station. 60 is a better buy. Direct mail: 5-12 pieces = this means 5-12 pieces of direct mail to each targeted voter. Newspaper ad: 4-5 runs of ad = a newspaper ad that runs 4-5 times will likely mean that 75% of the readers of the newspaper see the ad at least one time. More than half the readers will likely see it 3-5 times.
Most voters make up their minds in the last 2-3 weeks – that is when most of your paid media should hit. Exception to every rule : that is also when the most clutter will be around. If you can afford it you can get a message out (e.g. to define yourself before the other side defines you) early when there is less clutter. Don’t sacrifice a presence in the last few weeks, and know that most people aren’t paying attention.
If a cable spot goes for $2 a spot it is probably because relatively fewer people are watching – or it is plain dumb luck that your spot gets put where you want it. Media is sold by “points” which means that you tend to get what you pay for. Avoid paying for media that goes to people who can’t vote for you – This case is made in the next few slides.
Need to balance between what is the best media approach, and what is affordable (and available). E.G. TV may be the best media to reach the most voters in the most powerful way, but it is not affordable for your school board race. What might be most affordable is mail. What follows are 6 tips for making the decision between whats affordable and what is best.
Although TV is probably the media with the most impact – and covers everyone in the district – the two tv stations are too expensive. You spend too much for folks who can’t vote for you. Duluth Superior media market: 218,285 registered voters Minneapolis-St. Paul market: 2,806,521 registered voters TV: Duluth Min Buy: 1200 pts = $36,000 TV: Minneapolis-St. Paul Min Buy: 1200 pts = $330,000
Radio is too fragmented between stations and between two metro centers to be an effective buy. You buy for lots of folks who can’t vote. Target radio frequency: Radio: Duluth Min Buy: 1200 pts = $20,400 Per station/week: 30 spots@$25= $750 /wk Radio: Minneapolis-St.Paul Min Buy: 1200 pts = $228,000
The major daily newspapers cover the district but have too few subscribers in the district to make it a dominant media. Newspaper: Duluth Circ: 46,000 1835 live in District Min Buy: 5x ad (6”x7”) = $3,885 Newspaper: Minneapolis Circ : 375,000 ~1700 live in District Min Buy: 5x ad (6”x7”) = $31,500 Target minimum frequency (of how many times a viewer sees the message) Newspaper ad: 4-5 runs of ad = a newspaper ad that runs 4-5 times will likely mean that 75% of the readers of the newspaper see the ad at least one time. More than half the readers will likely see it 3-5 times. Per col. Inch rates vary widely depending on total amount bought, date, placement in paper, and other packages. Duluth News Tribune (46,000): about $37/column inch; Star Tribune (circulation – about 375,000 during week): about 1500-2000 in District: about $230 (no placement/discounted) - $350 (section placement) [assume $300/col inch)
The point is that buying all local newspapers in the district is cheaper and hits more people (about 20,000 compared to 1,835 for the Duluth News Tribune (DNT) and 1500-2000 for the Minneapolis Star Tribune) even though the “major” papers are not bought. Weeklies Pine Journal (Cloquet = 6,059) Kanabec Times (Mora = 3,033) Pine City Pioneer (Pine City = 3,057) The Star Gazette (Moose Lake = 2,425) Hinkley Times (Hinkley = 1,840) Arrowhead Leader (Moose Lake = 2,200) Askov American (Askov = 1,928) Pine County Courier (Sandstone = 1,800) Total Circulation : 22,342 (about 20,000 in District) Average weekly rates: $5-6/column inch = $550/week for all papers a 3 column x 7” ad == 21 col inch (~6”x7”) ad.
Point: Not everyone is hit by either newspaper, or radio – although many more are using the local media. Direct mail is the obvious choice to target the key voters – direct mail is reinforced (and works with) radio and newsprint. Weeklies WKLK AM/FM (Cloquet) = AM - $5/:30 spot; $6/:30 spot WMOZ (Moose Lake) = $6/:30 spot WCMP AM (Pine City) = $5/:30 spot WCMP Cool Country FM (Pine City)=$5/:30 spot KBEK (Mora) = $6/:30 spot Specific placement spots can cost more (e.g. placement within High School football games = $24) Total Listenership : This data is not collected Average weekly rates: 30 :30 spots on each station (minimum buy) = $990/week
$65,000 total budget Direct Mail: $40,000 Dominant media: ~80,000 pieces (~10,000 target voters) Local Radio: $5,000 3 weeks radio all 6 stations Local Weeklies: $5,000 5 weeks/every week/all 8 papers $50,000 for pd media (77% of total campaign budget – on target)
Use examples for each of these key points
Do test with direct mail pieces – Volunteers at front of room -- hand out piece (or show on screen) for 7 seconds and have people say what they knew. Do piece for 15 seconds Do piece for 30-45 second Three audiences 7-second (pictures – name – slogan) – this is the glance and toss crowd 10-20 second (headlines) – what do the headlines say? How do they convey a unified message? The readers (text for those who want more) – text should offer more for those who want more. The trick of a good and effective direct mail piece is to combine all of these into one piece – guiding rule: less is more, but … it is more than just a way to get a candidate’s name and mug out there – it needs to deliver a compelling message
Uses of direct mail Message reinforcement great way to target specific voters to reinforce other campaign message – can also be the primary medium, especially in smaller races Hard contrast use to deliver hard compare and contrast between candidates – side by side comparisons is an effective way to let voters decide by providing selected but accurate information. Negative use to deliver negative (but fair) attack – yes it is proper and okay to tell the truth about your opponent – just make sure it is true and does not over-reach or it will be seen as not credible and possibly backfire. Voter registration to target voter registration, early vote, vote by mail, etc.
741 words vs. 121 words. The shorter piece lists a website where people can go to get more information (and text). Put the details on your website and direct recipients where to find it for those who want to read further, don’t crowd the mail piece with it.
“ Raise your hands if you have ever had a gynecological exam.” One more good reason why seven middle-aged white guys shouldn’t be writing laws to restrict our reproductive freedom. This piece was targeted to young women, with infrequent vote history. The headline grabs the reader and every word is written in a tone designed to speak to them.
This is a Duluth city council piece to seniors all over the age of 67 (about 20% of this particular district). Points to make: Decent mail doesn’t have to be expensive. This was “homemade” using Pagemaker – no consultants, or direct mail firms Use interesting pictures – all of the photos are local to Duluth and of local Duluthians from District from the 1930s-50s Values pieces – tries to make connection with a different generation (on message of putting Duluth first) Cheap to produce – 2 colors
Visually gripping – and a very “hot” negative message.
This could be over-the-top, except that there is so much documentation. When making a negative attack in particular, credibility is critical and neutral “seconders” are very important.
Layout Photos-Visual : Don’t start with what the cover will say but with what a voter will see. 40-60% of piece is photos or visual – bad photos = bad mail – it is worth investing in professional photos if you do not have a “really good” photographer already. Avoid the screaming “political mail” look! Stick to the basics: anger , fear , empathy , curiosity , inspiration (moving) Note: this is not “subtle,” “ironic” or “thoughtful” – these will be forgotten. Headlines : 2-4 headlines – 7-9 words or less in each headline – headlines needs to create an entire and compelling message story Font : Serif fonts read horizontally and are good for text – Sans serif fonts standout and are good for headlines – there are exceptions to every rule, of course. Avoid too many font types – it gets confusing – use formatting to guide the eye. Font size : no smaller than 11pt – except for disclaimers and documentation
Stephanie Herseth (SD): This image works because you are drawn to very believable and engaging eyes (which have a reflection of a white, clapboard house in them if you look.
Using images that are non-political and out of the box can be a very effective way to get voters to pay attention. This piece presents the theme of this campaign in a very straight-forward, eye-catching way. Voters will look at this.
Screams political mail – or boring. Even the color scheme puts me to sleep.
This piece only works in a rural district, and this is the candidate’s actual hunting dog.
Clear, easily digested headlines … and a gimmick to pull you in.
Sometimes less really is more. This works because it actually conveys a lot of who this person is – a no nonsense conservative who gets the basics done.
Message Repetition : 4-12 pieces (1 or 2 pieces does not make a direct mail program) -- this sounds like a lot and budget will ultimately determine how much – but just a couple of pieces disappear in the swamp. Repeat message : Each piece should build on a common theme and reinforce the same message – even if to different audiences (they can have different angles and content) – do not assume that a voter will remember the previous piece so do not have one piece require the understanding of previous pieces (it may look great all spread out on a coffee table, but think of it spread out over three weeks in a person’s trash)
Marty Markowitz is running for Brooklyn Borough President. The photo here is irreplaceable. It is very human and real and engaging. The theme of “Brooklyn” and “real people” and touch or homespun humor is carried throughout the following mail pieces. The inside of the pieces are all local photos of real people.
Humor. Brooklyn theme. Great pose with ferris wheel in background.
Again, great photo with Brooklyn in background, great pose. This is his bio piece. Inside are photos of the deli and his local neighborhood.