Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

MARKETING, FRAMING, WHATEVER....I have some advice for the Democratic party: go talk to Tony Blair to see how things are done.

Over on the right is the unveiling of the Labor Party's 2005 "pledge card," a cheap and cheerful list of six things the Laborites say they stand for. Beneath it is a short amount of text expanding (slightly) on each of the six points.

Now, the wording of the points is worth looking at, but it's the marketing itself that's more noteworthy: six simple points, none of them longer than six words. This is accompanied by six explanations, none of them longer than 30 words.

Compare this to the comically inept "New Partnership for America's Future" unveiled by House Democrats a few weeks before the November election. I sagged when I first read it. The pamphlet version had a laundry list of 60 separate topics 60! jammed together in small type spanning six pages. The complete version needed nothing less than an entire website to contain its full gloriousness. In case you're ever having trouble falling asleep some night, here's one page from the manifesto:

OPPORTUNITY

Providing Americans access to the tools to succeed as they choose: a vibrant public education system, accountable to the highest standards for every school and a chance for all children to reach their potential, including an affordable and accessible college education.

Provide a high quality early childhood education system, including child care and Head Start, that prepares children for school Invest in a fully funded education system that gives every child the skills to succeed Fully meet our
responsibilities to children with disabilities, language issues, and other special needs Assure a well paid, highly trained teacher in every classroom Ensure a college education that every qualified high school graduate can afford Expand Pell Grants and college student loan programs Make college tuition tax deductible Provide lifelong learning in a world of unlimited opportunities Partner with states and local governments to build and rehabilitate school buildings Encourage parental, community, and private sector involvement in enriching our schools Support mentoring, tutoring and afterschool programs

Got all that? And there's five more where that came from!

So: take a hint from Tony. Figure out a message that can be printed on a something the size of a credit card and then hand them out by the millions. It can't work any worse than our previous marketing wheezes, can it?

UPDATE: Funniest comment so far:

They omitted: "Your language's verbs now redundant."

Well, we would have to Americanize the concept, wouldn't we?

Kevin Drum 2:58 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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