Candidate photos and logos are the two most important marketing tools used by every political campaign. Once these two things are established, all other marketing pieces will fall into place. This flyer by Bill Gunn for US Representative of Massachusetts shows that even the most essential components of a campaign can sometimes be the least effective.
The front of this card has a conventional layout with a few twists. It contains the standard logo, picture, contact information, and also a few bullet points taken from the candidate's platform. An interesting decision was to include the motto and election date using a vertical script with a maroon on red background (1). Even though this was intended to be subtle, anytime you shift the text direction 90° it creates a difficult experience for the reader. Since Gunn also included a rather long personal message on the front, the only area that is not covered in text is the picture.
With the last name "Gunn," there should have been no problems creating a logo that resonates with the voter. However, the logo that was created (2) minimizes the impact by including the stars and stripes, a large checkmark, and a "MA-1." In fact, the checkmark cuts into Gunn's last name which makes it difficult to read - something all campaigns should avoid.
When creating a flyer layout, it is important to make a distinction between the front and back of the flyer. At a quick glance, the reader should know which side of the flyer they are looking at. One thing I like about this flyer is how it accentuates this concept by using red with blue accents on the front, while the back uses blue with red accents (3), making a seamless transition for the reader.
There is an old saying, "A picture is worth 1000 words," and in political marketing this could not be more true. Each of the photos used on this flyer are fine on their own, however, they do not add any diversity when grouped together.
The back of the flyer (4) includes a photograph of Bill doing some roof repair accentuating his blue collar background, while the second photo is intended to appeal to sportsmen. When scanning all of the photos side by side it is rather peculiar that there is no one else photographed other than Bill. The absence of Bill's family, friends, or even supporters makes him seem... well, antisocial. Even worse, not one of these photos of Bill shows him with a smile on his face.
"Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important." - Janet Lane
1. Good distinction between the front and back
2. Easy to read bullet points
1. Hard to read candidate's name in the logo
2. Vertical and Horizontal words on the front
3. Photographs used are 1 dimensional
Overall Rating: D
At first glance this push card seems pretty standard, however "standard" is not something that will grab people's attention. There are also some glaring layout mistakes that makes this key campaign tool ineffective.
The most noticeable element of this card, the picture, is a complete failure. The picture Sullivan's campaign chose (1) depicts an expression that I am entirely unclear of. Most portraits choose to exhibit an emotional trait like concern or happiness, but this picture looks like one of those strange expressions you have when someone sneaks a picture in mid conversation. Almost more tragically, Sullivan is the oldest candidate in this race and this picture shows me a tired old man instead of someone that is going to tackle the job head on.
A big issue I have with politicians is that most of them think the average voter knows who they are. Sullivan has had held many extraordinary positions including the US Attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Director of the ATF, but if you ask "Average Joe" voter if they heard of Sullivan a majority of the people who tell you they have will only do so out of embarrassment because you put them on the spot.
This card does little to promote the Sullivan brand, a key function of push literature. First, Sullivan's name on the front of the card (2) could not be more hidden. Compressed between the other words on the flyer with little room to breathe, it blends Sullivan's name in with all the other text. If that wasn't bad enough, the blue on grey color scheme is another poor choice preventing Sullivan's name from standing out.
Also, if you took a quick glance at the back of the flyer (4), you would have no idea who's card this is. Always put the name/logo on both sides of the flyer so it is easy to read at a quick look - since this is all you should expect from a prospective voter.
This card breaks another of my pet peeves - trying to fill ever space so it looks like a garbled intimidating mess. There are clear opportunities on the back of this flyer to embrace white space, but instead there are stars and other junk thrown in for no good reason (3). Less is always more and the more space you give the reader, the more apt they are to actually read your message.
1. Election date very clear (especially for a special election primary)
2. Pictures of little kids are always a good idea
1. Tired main photo
2. Candidate's name does not jump out
3. No white space
Overall Rating: D