Biography Mail Pieces
Biography pieces are designed to introduce the candidate to the voter. They are generally the first mail piece the voter receives in a series. Candidates should begin with a biography piece to establish trust with a voter before getting into specific issues or contrasting themselves with the opponent. Generally, you will also want to close your campaign with a bio piece as well.
A biography piece should include large images of the candidate, generally pictured with family. The piece on the right is a great example: a voters eyes go from a photo of children (the piece is about kids) to the candidate's name (so voters know who is running) then to the text below Engen's photo (so voters know the campaign theme: "Our Children Deserve Great Schools"). Voters can read this in 7 seconds or less, which is about how much time you have to get the information across.
Issue Mail Pieces
Issue ads are generally sent after your first biography piece. The focus should be your top issue, rather that satellite issues that aren't central to your campaign. Issues can be difficult to understand, and a mail piece is not the place to explain details. See the traffic piece above. Within a few seconds, the reader knows that the issue at stake is traffic, that nothing is currently being done to address traffic, and that Rick Edmonds has a plan to address it. This is an excellent way to convince voters that you are the person they should vote for if they care about traffic.
Contrast Mail Pieces
Contrast pieces are different than attack ads. The point is not just to attack your opponent, but to contrast yourself favorably with your opponent. Notice the progression in the mail pieces -- first your introduce yourself with a biography ad, then you address an issue that is important to voters, then you contrast yourself favorably with your opponent (preferably on the same issue you hit in the issue ad). These all come before you attack your opponent. You need to build trust with voters before you attack your opponent, or your attack won't be as meaningful.
Attack Mail Pieces
The last piece you send before closing out your mail campaign with another biography piece is an attack piece. These are optional, and candidates should be thoughtful about whether to attack their opponents. Attack ads can be incredibly effective, and they can also turn voters off. Candidates using attack ads are often walking a fine line. And you must build credibility with voters before you go on the attack (with biography, issue and contrast ads).
Notice how simple the ad on the left is. Twelve words and an image is all this ad needs to get the message across effectively. The less text you can get away with, the better.
Biography ads focus on your campaign theme. They tell voters who you are.
- Corey Gardner: Don't just tell voters, show them.
- Joni Ernst: Connect with your voters.
- Jon Tester: Relate to the people you represent.
- Sean Duffy: Use humor well.
- Ron Johnson: Be clever, cut through the noise.
- Kristi Noem: What kind of person are you?
Endorsement ads give you third party credibility.
- Family endorsement I
- Family endorsement II
- Voter endorsement I
- Voter endorsement II
- Voter endorsement III
Issue ads show voters that you care about the things they care about.
- Don't change horses midstream.
- Be different.
- You and I think the same way.
- Here is what this issue means to your kids.
Contrast ads contrast you favorably with your opponent.
- You and I want to protect medicare, but my opponent...
- You and I both hate negative ads. But my opponent...
- You and I value service to country, but my opponent...
- We both value hard work, but my opponent...
- Who do you want in a crisis?
Inoculation ads inoculate you from an attack you know is coming.
- What about the wrestling stuff?
- It's all just politics.
- I'll protect your guns.