election campaign advertising

Sen. McCain, Where’s the Sparkle?

Sen. McCain, Where’s the Sparkle?

Where's the direct mail? The full color banners? The slightest effort to stand out! Less than two weeks before the pivotal primary contests in Ohio and Texas, John McCain is comfortably entrenched as the inevitable choice for the Republican Presidential nomination. It seems to me, then, that he should already be running his presidential campaign, but from what we've seen as of late, McCain is still running the same old campaign. So far, his team has continued to offer voters: – Infrequent updates on the campaign website. – No fresh election campaign printing, and nothing tailored to individual states. – A reluctance to agree to GOP debates. – Weak responses to media attempts to attack and discredit him. Last week, the New York Times broke a story that implied McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. This week, all the scrutiny is on his campaign finances. The media wants everybody to know that the man who has consistently touted […]

From One Little Direct Mail Campaign…

From One Little Direct Mail Campaign…

Clinton goes after Obama, guns blazing. Who would have thought that direct mail print campaigns could become so contentious? It's the dream of every direct mail project to generate enormous buzz, but at this point, Barack Obama's campaign is getting more than they bargained for! An early Ohio direct mailer by the Obama camp slammed Hillary for supporting NAFTA, and touted Obama's “consistent opposition” of the economically damaging trade agreement. However, like a similar mailer focusing on the failings of Hillary's healthcare plan, the Clinton camp quickly picked apart the inaccuracies in this mailer. Clinton's spokespeople went so far as to call the mailer disingenuous, and accused Obama of attempting to vilify her campaign. And now Clinton is taking issue with Obama's mailers during rallies. At a rally in Cincinnati on Saturday, Clinton actually displayed the Obama campaign's direct mail printing to the crowd, saying, “Shame on you, Barack Obama. It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your […]

Ohio Primary Campaign Printing

Ohio Primary Campaign Printing

Obama unveils a new print design in Youngstown To keep things spicy in Ohio, the Obama camp has recently whipped out a new print design. The rally sign printing sticks to the classic Obama campaign style, setting a modern sans serif font into a field of navy blue, a small logo in discreet red and white at the top, poised like a political cherry. But the slogan is fresh: “Keeping America's Promise.” You gotta love how candidates latch on to broad concepts based on socio-economic statistics in order to come up with these slogans. Just imagine all those media folks sitting around: “Okay, we need a new piece of full color printing. Something special for Ohio.” “Okay, I think we should stick with a similar style to the 'Change We Can Believe In' signage.” “Agreed, but this time, we need to use fewer words. Fewer words pack a bigger punch.” “Okay, well, we know that Ohio is going through a […]

Yes We Can / Si Se Puede

Yes We Can / Si Se Puede

“Because words and ideas are powerful…” It was a busy weekend for print design and advertising. I could kick off this Monday by talking about the Superbowl ads, or about those scandal-inducing Abercrombie and Fitch billboards, but I think I'll save those for later in the week, because something else seriously, seriously cool happened this weekend. More and more, professional artists from all fields are coming out to show support for their favorite candidates, and the latest and greatest example of this comes from Will.i.am, the dude from the Black Eyed Peas. Will.i.am put together this wicked song and video based on the now-famous speech made by Barack Obama after the primary in New Hampshire. Check it out: The original posting of the video, along with a little meditation on its inspiration, can be found here. As you may have noticed, quite a bit of Obama's print collateral shows up in the video, including both signs and screen-printed t-shirts. But […]

Stephen Colbert Holds Print Design Clinic for Campaigners

Stephen Colbert Holds Print Design Clinic for Campaigners

Newly declared Presidential candidate Stephen Colbert knows good full color print design when he creates it. We've followed Hillary Clinton from “Let the Conversation Begin,” all the way to “Rebuilding the Road to the Middle Class.” We've experienced the essence of succinct copywriting with McCain campaign slogans such as “Ready to Lead,” and “No Surrender.” And now, surprise Presidential candidate Stephen Colbert has burrowed into the heart of election campaign sloganism by kicking of his candidacy with these immortal words: “Truthiness and Justice for all.” It remains to be seen how far Colbert is actually going to take his mock run at the Presidency. With campaign sponsors like Comedy Central and Doritos, observers are saying he won't get far with the notoriously humorless Federal Election Commission breathing down his neck. However, it's sure going to be funny for as long as he can keep it going, and personally, I'm hoping to see some hilarious full color printing campaigns coming out […]

Election Campaigning with Comedy

Election Campaigning with Comedy

What's so funny about political printing? Nothing…yet. I don't think it's particularly contentious to state that this has been the funniest Presidential election to date. I mean, Bill Clinton was fun, with the sax and charisma and all, but he was hardly ROTFLMAO. And as for George W., he's gotten a lot of laughs over the last six years or so, but we weren't exactly laughing WITH him, were we? If the examples of our recent Presidents have taught the 2008 candidates anything, it's that you better crack the first joke, before it's cracked at your expense. GWB isn't entirely to blame for this new style of political campaigning. It's also true that as comedy news shows and blogs have become an increasingly trusted form of information media, it's become harder to ignore the fact that some of the most important and cutting politics of the day are conveyed through humor. It's no surprise, then, that this election season has […]

Iowa Sign Wars!

Iowa Sign Wars!

These people are serious about their political printing! As the Presidential candidates have been making the rounds through Iowa over the last several weeks, sign wars have been breaking out on college campuses and rally sites the state over. Never heard of a sign war before? Don't worry, it doesn't actually involve supporters hitting each other over the heads with pieces of political printing. Sign wars happen when multiple candidates are appearing at or near the same location at the same time. In these cases, event organizers work their butts off to blanket the landscape with signs supporting their candidates. This is done to demonstrate that a given candidate has the most supporters. Unlike sign wars that happen on the lawns of suburban neighborhoods, election event sign wars appear suddenly one morning and disappear at the end of an event, ideally leaving behind nothing as supporters bring their printed souvenirs home with them. It will come as no surprise that […]

Mitt Romney Political Flyer Has a Big Impact, 5 Years Later

Mitt Romney Political Flyer Has a Big Impact, 5 Years Later

Be Careful What You Put on Your Political Printing? Advertising copy can be the key to campaign success; it can also ensure accountability, whether you like it or not! Unlike web pages, which can be lost in the annals of time, paper can be preserved almost indefinitely. This, of course, means that anything you put your name next to on paper, you'll be held to at some point, whether that point is now, or five years from now. And that doesn't just include mortgage papers and marriage certificates, it also includes signs, stickers, flyers, and all other forms of political printing. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a taste of this fact of life on Monday, when an old flyer surfaces from his days campaigning for governor in Massachusetts. The bright pink flyer reads: “Mitt and Kerry Wish you a Great Pride Weekend! All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.” A harmless and good-willed statement, you might […]

Using Election Campaign Advertising to Connect

Using Election Campaign Advertising to Connect

Political printing creates valuable emotional bonds with voters. The other day, I came across an interesting little tidbit about the influence of political printing and other ads in the outcome of a campaign. It seems that market research done by Harris Interactive in 2004 found that voting results can be better predicted by how voters feel about election campaign advertising than about how they respond to polls asking them to pick the candidate they will vote for. Why, I wonder, do voters change their minds when they come right down to that moment in the booth? The tidbit of interest, found at AdAge.com goes on to explain that the issue is engagement. Voters don't end up choosing who they think is best for the job, but the candidate with whom they have the strongest emotional connection. This connection doesn't have to be positive, necessarily. It just has to be consistent. A candidate that positions him or herself as a good […]

The Delicate Art of Font Selection

The Delicate Art of Font Selection

When it comes to font selection, a designer has to have a sense of history, psychology, and an eye for matchmaking. If an analysis of election campaign print designs proves anything, it proves that font selection plays a critical part in successful (if not good) design. I'm amazed at how many blogs I've been coming across this week that focus on brand or design analysis of the Presidential candidates! One popped up yesterday on Presidential Brands2008. And that excellent site pointed the way to a similar post on Hue, a beautiful blog about that beloved design element, color. Both posts, like the one mentioned earlier this week, make some great points about each campaign's design decisions. Ryan Bowman over at GOOD has a great sense for seeing where the campaigns have taken from concepts created by great (or not so great) election campaigns of the past. Marc Cardwell, writing for PB2008, makes astute distinctions as to which candidates are working […]

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