As an marketing professional I signed up to get e-mails from the campaigns of Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton. Although they don’t seem to care about e-mail fatigue, their frequency is frankly off the chart, there hasn’t really been anything interesting to report. Until today.
On Monday Obama’s campaign announced a raffle or lottery of sorts via email:
Out of this week’s campaign donors, four will be selected at random to attend dinner with the Senator, at his campaign’s expense.
Well by yesterday both his rivals must have thought it was a pretty darn good idea, why not just freaking steal it. McCain was first into my in-box. In an e-mail purportedly to be from McCain—which begins with his by now trademark “My friends” verbal tic—the Senator said:
Next week, I will embark on a “Service to America” tour visiting numerous locations that have played a significant role in shaping who I am today; places where I have had the honor of serving our nation. This tour will take me through Mississippi, Virginia, Florida and my home state of Arizona. I look forward to visiting sites that have left an imprint on my life aboard my campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express.
My campaign has come up with an opportunity for a supporter to join me on the Straight Talk Express for a day of conversation and campaigning. As a token of my appreciation for your financial support, you will be entered to win this seat aboard the Straight Talk Express if you make a contribution before midnight on March 31st. I hope you’ll consider joining me by making a donation today. If you can give $50 or more, not only will you be entered to win a ride on the Straight Talk Express, but you’ll receive a commemorative Straight Talk Express ticket.
But only minutes later, Clinton’s campaign was making basically the exact same pitch. An e-mail with Clinton’s signature outlined:
I’m really looking forward to the solo concert my friend Elton John is throwing in New York to help our campaign—and I would very much like the chance to meet you there.
We’re sending two supporters, along with their guests, to New York with VIP tickets for this very special, one-night-only concert on April 9, and it could be you. We will have a chance to talk just you and I—and you will get to meet Elton John at the party we’re throwing afterwards. It’s going to be a great night.
I am all for people utilizing best practices to improve their marketing efforts. But my gosh. At least what a couple weeks, put some thoughts into the idea to make it your own, and don’t just copy what a direct competitor does. This makes it look like McCain and Clinton are just following the leader, which in a political campaign might not be the best idea.