Red, White and Balloons

June 21, 2016
Brett Buerck

Is your campaign ready for the 4th of July?

There are parades and picnics, festivals and fairs, all teeming with potential for new voters, new supporters and new volunteers.

Get ready, and make sure your collateral material works for you.

Now we’ve talked before about not wasting your money on silly swag like nail files and unbreakable combs. We’re here to serve our clients, and we will happily help you plan, design and print anything you need.

We would be doing our clients a disservice, though, if we didn’t offer our best advice based on over 125 years of collective experience to ensure you use your precious campaign dollars wisely.

What’s best?

“Best” is a very personal choice. Campaigns need to think about the event they are attending, the number of volunteers and staff they will have there helping them and how many people are expected at the event.

Understanding the event, the audience and how your campaign will be interacting with voters will help ensure your collateral “fits” and continues to work for you long after the end of the event.

Tchotchkes

You know what we’re talking about – fans, nail files, unbreakable plastic combs. These tchotchkes might bring some people to the booth, but are they delivering any sort of message?

The Pros
Some campaigns will feel like these tchotchkes are important. They think voters want a fan on a hot day or a nail file to take home from the fair. They may feel like these items are popular and “wanted” and draw attendees into the booth.

The Cons
These types of tchotchkes are typically expensive, and let’s be real. No one really wants them. They take them, sure, but those combs, fans and nail files are gone before they hit the car or as soon as they get home. That’s your campaign money going into the trash. It’s far better to spend those campaign resources on real voter contact measures that target the right audience and deliver a lasting message.

If you want something to hand out, buy candy. It’s cheap, fun, makes people happy and is more likely to be remembered than a nail file.

Balloons

For some campaigns, balloons are the answer. There’s nothing like a team of volunteers passing out balloons to little hands at a picnic, fair or other public event.

The Pros
Balloons are relatively inexpensive and act as walking billboards for your campaign throughout the event.

The Cons
You need volunteers and staff members at the ready, actively filling balloons. That means you need to purchase or rent helium tanks as well. Don’t forget to bring multiple pairs of scissors along to cut the ribbon, and teach your volunteers how to tie slipknots. You don’t want to be at fault for a kid loosing his balloon and crying. Once balloons are gone, they’re gone … and so is your name ID or message.

Volunteer Cards

Nice and small, these are simple ways to harness immediate opportunities to sign up supporters and turn them into active campaign members.

The Pros
Inexpensive, volunteer cards only require a stack of pens and a bowl, box or tray to collect completed forms.  Having at least one volunteer or staff member present to encourage sign ups and help answer questions can help increase the number of sign ups.

The Cons
While many volunteers will fill out the form at your booth, some will take it home with them to complete and return later. You will want to jump on the iron while it’s hot, though, so you need engaging, encouraging and personable staff or volunteers manning the table to encourage immediate sign ups.

Flipcards

Small flipcards can serve dual purpose as both material to hand out door-to-door before and after the event as well as materials to pass out at the event itself. Flipcards are sized to fit easily in the palm of the hand or a back pocket, making them convenient to carry while walking through a fair or parade route.

The Pros
Flipcards offer just enough size to deliver more than a logo and tagline. You’ll have room to talk about your experience as well as your plan. This is an opportunity to connect to voters on a personal level and leave them with something to look at and remember later. You can also use the flipcard to drive traffic to your website and social media accounts to learn more, donate or sign up as a volunteer.

The Cons
The flipcard provides limited space. Don’t be tempted to pack in too much information. Remember the flipcard is small intentionally to be a convenient carrying size. Campaigns need to focus on the big picture, highlight their mission and overall message and leave room for photography and art to keep the reader interested.

Palmcards

Palmcards come in a variety of shapes and sizes that allow room for additional messaging, photography and even tear-off reply cards for volunteers to commit time to the campaign.

The Pros
The world is your oyster with a well-written and designed palmcard. From smaller palmcards that fold to fit into the palm of your hand to larger pieces designed to stand out, palmcards are the workhorses of the campaign. Plan ahead for your full summer of events and print enough to cover all of your events that month as well as your door-to-door efforts.

The Cons
Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices. Much like the flipcard, the basics are still the most important. A well-written and designed palmcard will help boost your name ID and give voters a great picture of you and your campaign. Focus on one important call to action. Do you want to drive voters to your website? Do you want them to complete and return a reply card to sign up as a donor or volunteer? Do you want them to commit to your campaign and return a commitment card for future turnout efforts? Decide on the front end what the end goal is, and then tailor your palmcard to match.

The Takeaway

The opportunities for voter engagement and volunteer recruitment won’t end after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Opportunities will be plentiful all summer long.

  • Tailor your collateral materials to the event.
  • Spend wisely and aim for collateral that serves multiple purposes.
  • Make sure your collateral works for you long after the event ends.

Get in touch with us today to get started.

Learn More About Voter Contact Mail & Mobile Advertising:

GOTV: Get in the Ground Game

Political Advertising 2.0: Beyond the Red, White and Blue

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