Linda was a 33 year-old business-owner running for City Council. She was an underdog and was bound to be outspent. She had to work smarter, not harder. She found an issue.
The community had suffered a number of child/car accidents that year. Through personal visits to baseball and soccer fields and playgrounds she learned that parents were concerned for their children's safety. She researched national and local statistics for child car accidents., noting a common thread ... in many cases the children simply weren't seen.
Linda purchased a quantity of imprinted orange safety flashers and carefully prepared a press release highlighting the statistics and her resolve to work closely with law enforcement, code compliance and neighborhood associations to find ways to reduce child/vehicle accidents. She came up with a theme, "Children Should Be Seen, Not Hurt." She then enlisted the help of several area businesses who agreed to help distribute the safety flashers.
Linda launched her plan with a press conference (attended by 50 supporters) two weeks prior to Halloween. Press coverage leading up to Halloween was supported by some well-worded letters to the editor. She garnered earned media, her name ID was boosted but more importantly, she tapped into the emotion of parents in a way that gave her credibility. Timed right, this is a powerful tactic to blind-side an opponent at the last minute.
These types of tactics take planning. May 2nd, is National Child Safety Day, May 7th Nat'l Fingerprint Your Kid Day and May 25th is Nat'l Missing Children's Day. Any of these events can be an opportunity for a campaign to stand out on an issue and incorporate the right promotional product such as fingerprint kits or flashers. National Night Out is the first Tuesday of August where people sit out on their front porch with the light on as a show of force against the criminal element. With time to find sponsors, a campaign could hand out inexpensive imprinted cardboard binoculars.
While campaigns may have the main "Party" issues, campaigns need to seek out what I call "Ingrain" issues ranging from domestic violence and conservation to public safety and senior issues. These are the topical, localized issues that can help you become ingrained within a community.
In summary, promotional products can be used effectively in a Political campaign when they are issue oriented. Planning is key. If done properly the campaign will "own" an issue, gain earned media and have the campaign name floating around town on a relevant item.
Source: Michael Merrick Crooks