It’s not even 2013 and already, we have another contender for “worst fundraising email of the campaign.” It comes from Ken Cuccinelli, whose campaign managed to send out an appeal that is both confusing and just plain awful.
For those who got the appeal, it landed in email boxes as coming from George Allen. Okay, fair enough. The headline, though, was odd: “My Campaign’s First Critical Fundraising Deadline is December 31st.”
The late Allen campaign has no such thing. Still, intrigued, I opened the email to find this disclaimer right at the top:
Please find a special message from one of our advertisers, Ken Cuccinelli for Gorvernor [sic]. Please note that the following message reflects the opinions and representations of our advertiser alone, and not necessarily the opinion or editorial positions of George
Ken’s running for “Gorvernor”? And can I expect even more such “advertisers” to send me email pitches under George Allen’s name in the future?
Here’s hoping the apology letter from the Cuccinelli campaign to George Allen doesn’t make the same blisteringly stupid blunders.
Never one to let the whiff of good copy pass unmentioned, the RTD’s Jeff Schapiro tracked down Cuccinelli campaign political director Noah Wall, who, in the finest modern fashion, blamed the vendor:
“We rented George Allen’s email list. Obviously there were a couple errors with how that email was sent, making it confusing who the email was coming from.”
Thanks for clearing that up, Noah. But you don’t get off that easily. If there’s an error in the email, it’s the campaign’s fault — and the blame can be placed directly at the feet of the person who signed off on the copy, the set-up and the delivery.
It may even be the same person who signed off on the printed appeal for a Cuccinelli fundraiser in mid-November. Remember that one? The BRE had “George Allen for U.S. Senate” printed on it.
As for the pitch itself, here’s a tip: if you want examples of email fundraising appeals that actually fit the medium, try looking over the ones the Kaine campaign sent during the recent Senate race. They were brief, almost always included a poll or other interactive device and had headlines that were so tight they could have qualified as Zen koans. And, for the love of Viguerie, don’t put a disclaimer that torpedoes your whole pitch in a box at the top of the email. Ever.
Lest you think I’m singling out Ken unfairly, the leading contender for worst campaign email of the young election season (and perhaps the worst since the dreck Democratic AG candidate was polluting email boxes with in 2009) is the one the Devolites-Davis camp sent out on September 11th, asking all of us to “…remember those fallen Americans from 11 years ago” and to “please encourage everyone to participate in our great Democracy.” And once we were finished with that, why not hop on over to her campaign website and fill out a survey?
This little episode brings Shaun’s earlier post about the GOP’s digital divide into focus. It’s not just on Twitter and Facebook where Virginia Republicans are falling behind. It’s email, too. The only saving grace? Terry McAuliffe’s campaign is out of the gate with pitches that are utterly creepy. One — signed by his wife — that tell us how “he barely sleeps.” That narrative, followed through November, can only lead to complete embarrassment. Or possibly an intervention.