Ruining the Campaign: a Compilation of Mistakes

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Ruining the campaignThe 21 best ways to spoil a campaign
This compilation of useful tips is derived from years of international experience. They will work whenever you strive to be defeated. Loss guaranteed! 100%.

Avoid images!
Whoever has something to tell, really should T-E-L-L it. You don’t need colourful images or hectic activities to express yourself and your ideas. Campaign events are an awful lot of work and they usually pass unnoticed in the political news sections of reputable newspapers. They just end up on certain pages or blogs that you never read yourself, or broadcast in programmes you’ve never heard of before.

For press officers: The more, the better!
Everybody complains about information overload these days, and especially during campaigns. In order to stand out you have to produce as many press releases as you can. Those press officers who, on a daily basis, send out several elaborated press releases about their campaign will at a certain point succeed in being read. Should you fail, the problem is your press releases: they are too few and too short.

Distribute, don’t listen!
Provide extensive information about your programme, your campaign, and about the structure of your party. This information should always be distributed in written form! Avoid direct conversations, for there is a big danger you may be misunderstood! However, if you can’t escape them, be sure to always stay on the air and on message (keep talking!), and avoid listening to those people you are certainly convincing.

Don’t waste your precious time with research!
Instead of campaigning right from the start, some ‘know-it-alls’ recommend that you invest in research first, to gather information about the electorate and about the opponents, segment ‘target groups’, test messages and designs, map the votes in each district, and so on. This obsessive behaviour will cost you an incredible amount of time and money that you shouldn’t waste on somebody else’s irritating love of statistics.

Stick to your language!
Your party has coined and shaped several terms and expressions which are commonly used by your colleagues but which not every household is familiar with. Don’t try to ingratiate yourself with clueless people by not using your complex phraseology! They should learn your language – this will help them gain a broader understanding of your unrivalled concepts!

Always separate press and PR work!
Always put PR and press people in different corners of your campaign headquarters! Whenever your campaign produces a new brochure, the press officer need only find out once it has been sent out. Because it would never occur to anyone that the press officer might usefully consult the PR team to discuss which topics could be promoted jointly, would it?

Avoid brevity!
In these fast moving times, people are generally inattentive. This is particularly true when it comes to campaigns. To counter this, you should not try to imitate the twitter ‘language’.  Your texts should always provide the entire context. It is much better if somebody has to read the whole text to understand your message or ideas than if he or she is immediately made aware of the most important parts thanks to the structure of the text or an obvious headline.

Be communicative about internal conflicts!
Some media persons are unfortunately unable to detect in a press release whether there is a contradiction with other opinions within your party. Help them, be transparent! You should always call them and provide them with the details of the conflicts that emerged in recent meetings. You will make plenty of new friends in the media and your party will be rewarded with constant coverage.

Avoid personalisation!
Your campaign and your party do not just consist of the top candidate and the spokespersons. There are far more people involved: why should only the most important people talk about the most important things? Always announce your news as coming from ‘the party’ as a whole or ‘the board’, and avoid personalisation. Furthermore, you should avoid assigning certain topics to specific candidates. This would certainly not reflect the diversity and complexity of their personalities.

Avoid nationwide teamwork!
Contact with people in other parts of the party, who have similar functions to you, is a waste of precious time. These people are familiar only with the specific local situation, and are most probably unable or unwilling to help you out with your problems. This is true also of your entourage. National blathering is OK for the party board, but not something you as a campaigner have the time for.

Produce copious amounts of printed material!
There’s so much rubbish out there on the market that you’d be well advised to stock up on your own publications. It’s such an uplifting feeling to be able to hang up those old posters, to cover your display stand with large quantities of old publications from the last campaign, and to remember all of the good things you produced all those years ago.

Never work with a precise budget!
There’s nothing more debilitating than knowing how much money is earmarked for what and when. You’re better off not planning for the campaign at all. It’s far more creative to decide spontaneously how much you want to pay. When there are no funds left, you’ll no doubt come up with something!

Spread out far and wide!
It happens frequently that the most unexpected people suddenly take an interest in your party. It only makes sense, therefore, to distribute your material as broadly as possible. You don’t want to risk missing anyone out. The rather fashionable fixation campaigners have with specific target groups is just a poor excuse for those people too scared to venture into opposition territory.

Adopt a relaxed approach to the media!
During campaigns, it’s not uncommon for people to be slavishly dependent on the honourable ladies and gentlemen of the media when organising their schedule. But they just turn up when they feel like it. You’d therefore be better off planning things to suit you and your team. You can simply call your journalist friends shortly before the editorial deadline to ensure your issue is still fresh in their minds at the right moment.

Don’t go overboard with your online press service!
Don’t drive yourself mad with the internet. Everything ran smoothly in the olden days. It’s completely unnecessary to create a press area on your campaign website. Should the press come looking for anything, they can call you up for a plain and simple conversation.

WWW – Wasted Work on Web 2.0
Keep your fingers away from Web 2.0! No sensible person sets up a profile on the internet, calls using Skype, or reads Feeds, blogs, and other such nonsense. The internet’s scope and impact are no match for radio or television – there’s no point investing time, energy and money in all this modern hype.

Websites: do it yourself
The election campaign website of your party headquarters looks much like that of the regional branches? Are they even centrally updated? You must know someone personally who’s good with computers. He can most certainly build a far better tailor-made website for you. This is the only way people will realise that you’re in charge of your area. And that’s how it should continue.

Don’t waste time with training
She who does her job well has no time to get bored in campaign training programmes. People grow with the challenges of their own work, not by playing little group games led by some sort of PR know-it-all in one of those seminar-style hotels. And you can also forget about the sprawling mass of campaign literature – it all says the same thing and is so out of touch.

Your own style rather than guidelines!
You can happily ignore the whole circus that surrounds the image of a campaign. Make sure your things look good on the ground, that you and your friends are impressed, rather than bothering yourself with the bits and pieces provided by the campaign headquarters. With the new graphic design software that’s around, you can do a better job than them on any computer.

In a crisis: pull the plug!
If a big crisis or scandal hits the campaign and the phones won’t stop ringing, there aren’t many solutions: pull the plug or turn on the answering machines! As an employee, you’ll only get into trouble if you try to handle things any other way. Someone from the party board or one of the candidates will surely say something – far better for people to focus on him, than on you.

Avoid PR agencies!
Agencies can never really know your party or its procedures – they are the worst of the whole PR business. If, in search of new ideas, you nonetheless want to work with them, invite them and a few freelancers along to an unpaid competition for the campaign, then implement the best of their ideas by yourself, without any expensive input from the agencies.

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