Direct mail round-up: Bill Foster’s wife sends a letter

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Saturday’s mail brought two mailers supportive of incumbent mayor Bill Foster, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise since Foster’s consultant (and really his last remaining ally other than Neil Allen) makes his money from direct mail. Win or lose, Foster’s budget will be spent and spent on direct mail and spent at Jack Hebert’s shop.

One of Hebert’s creative standbys is the “Letter from the Wife” — a direct-mailed envelope that almost appears as if it is a handwritten letter from the candidate’s wife, in this case Wendy Foster, wife of the Mayor. I love reading these letters, not only because I once wrote them myself for Hebert’s clients (“From the Desk of Toni Farkas,” as if anyone gave a rat’s a** what Mrs. Farkas had to say), but because the letters are so incredibly cheesy.

“Like any loving wife, I’ve always seen great things in my husband,” reads the letter. “I knew he could succeed at anything he put his mind to, from graduating from law school, being elected to City Council and the becoming Mayor of Florida’s fourth largest city.”

Puke.

The best/worst part of these mailers is the “family picture” enclosed. This feature supposedly appeals to all of the old birds with children and grandchildren of their own who long ago were sent off to Sunny Meadows. The picture enclosed in Mrs. Foster’s letter is “of our family, Bill, Christine, Will and myself at Will’s high school graduation ceremony.”

“All of us couldn’t be prouder of Bill and all he’s doing for St. Petersburg,” reads the almost-handwritten note on the back of the pic.

Do people even talk like that?

Letters like this one from Wendy Foster only convince me further that political direct mail will be obsolete within a few years.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.