Fresh off her impressive performance at Tiger Bay, Angela Rouson sent out this direct mail-piece to St. Petersburg voters:
The duo-toning throughout is a smart move, although I wonder if it was an attempt to make the voter forget that Angela is black. Still, the picture on the cover is fantastic. It reminds voters that Angela is the wife of popular state representative Darryl Rouson, while also showing that she is the mother of a troop of young men. Two of the three pictures inside are just alright, although the picture of a younger Rouson with a younger Barack Obama is a winner.
I didn’t post the mail panel because I forgot to black out the address of the friend who gave me the piece, but it’s standard fare.
All in all, a solid introductory piece, a B for context, A- for design, especially the photography, so I’ll give it a B+. I asked my colleague Greg Wilson for his critique, as part of a mutual idea to begin a more thorough analysis of political advertising. Here are excerpts from his review:
“Might question the absence of some caucasians, given the district’s demographics, but not looking to pick a fight about it. And for someone who says “Running for City Council isn’t about me,” these mailings seem to be more about her, and not about the voter she proposes to represent. That said, I’m only seeing the A-Side of the mailings. The flip side may well address these two questions.”
“Playing the “Obama Card” subtracts points from a lot of conservative voters, so I don’t think I would have recommended that. Guess the targeting will matter a lot on that question. Given that I have no way of knowing who (or who not) was mailed to, I can offer no opinion. Maybe she only mailed to Democrats? Risky gambit, but maybe all she really is doing is enough to insure a second place finish and then let her husband call in favors for the General Election.”
“I agree that there is a lot to like about the mailing. The photography is compelling and, as I said earlier, I commend the campaign for having and using it. I am mixed on the use of the black and blue duotone. Was this creative license, by necessity (low budget), or consciously calculated? There is something to be said for designing to stand out in the crowd, which this piece does, but with photography this good, I think I would be compelled to run it in full color.”
“I, too, was left wishing for more info on the candidate, which is why I wondered what more might be on the mailing panel. They’re hoping the photo tells the story and keeping the copy to a minimum. Not a bad message strategy, but I’m not convinced it will be enough.”
“In the nit-picking department, I’m not convinced the headline typography supports the personality of the campaign. Furthermore, I would not have used the past tense for all of the headlines. Put simply, who wants a “has been”?
“And my grade? Hmmm, don’t like criticizing other professional’s work without a fuller understanding of the campaign as a whole (or seeing the reverse side of the piece!), but I appreciate that simply won’t happen here. I’m afraid I’m going to have to give it a lower vote than you for it’s diminished appeal to a broader base of voters – a C+, but I agree the design is strengthened by the use of the photography they had…and they knew it, too, going full bleed like they did. I’ll give the design a B.”