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Posters are a waste of money and abuse of volunteers

DCblogger's picture

We are having a special election for DC City Council At Large, and a candidate, who shall remain nameless, is complaining about his posters being torn down. The poster wars are a feature of every campaign and no one cares save the candidates. Ordinary people regard political posters as little better than litter.

For an emergent party candidate, someone who is low on money and volunteers, posters are a particular waste of money and time. For the half of the sum of money you would pay for even a small run of posters you could buy a sponsored link of the Washington, DC section of Reddit and reach far more people. Even better, you would bring them to your website where they would have a chance to learn something about you. Still better, some of these people might volunteer for your campaign, or gasp, donate money. Digital outreach is a far superior use of scarce campaign resources than posters.

If you are a candidate for an emergent party, chances are good no one has heard of you. Unlike legacy party candidates, the party label does not confer immediate credibility, so you have to tell people about you. Your web site can do that for you, but only if you bring traffic to it.

Or you could use your money to print grip cards instead of posters. In DC you could stand in front of subway stops and hand out your cards (which should have the url of your website clearly printed on them.) That would give people a chance to meet you, look at your literature, and go to your website for additional information if so inclined. The grip card is a far superior tool than the poster.

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Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Yours doesn't appear to be the majority opinion among politicians and their campaign staffs. I've often wondered how much good yard signs do out here - they're posters on a stick, so you can put them in someone's yard. Usually, the only information on them is the name of the candidate and the position he's running for. Last year, there was a candidate who just put his name on the yard signs, and nothing else. Turns out he was running for governor, and he won.

Come campaign season, the blasted things are everywhere. You'd think there were spores that created them.

Still, the things impart no useful information for making a decision on whom to vote for. I'd think the Internet or direct mail would be more effective ways of trying to communicate. Glad to see someone who works on campaigns agrees.

Submitted by lambert on

People are really declaring themselves, personally, when they put up a sign.

However, I think that "grip card" concept sounds neat. And easy to distribute, too.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

In DC most posters are put on telephone poles or other public property, not yard signs, or in the windows of apartment buildings, where they would be at least somewhat effective. Posters have always been done, so it is difficult to dissuade candidates from using them. Believe me, I have tried.