My Mail From Mitt
Mitt Romney is carpet bombing my mailbox. Either on "Monday Morning" or "Wednesday Morning" he writes me, soliciting my support for Romney for President Inc. or, alternatively, for the Republican National Committee (RNC). I wonder if Monday and Wednesday won in tests, or if it's just what the creative teams for the candidate and the GOP fall back on.
Gov. Romney has asked for me to sign a RNC "Pledge of Support to Restore America's Promise." He has asked for my emergency contribution to help the RNC raise $12 million in the next 20 days. (Again, I wonder about testing and if the $12 million and 20 days are deliberate.) And he has also asked for my input on a confidential 2012 Presidential Issues Survey.
All of the letters — for both the RNC and his campaign — are signed "Mitt" and do not include a title, with just his name typed below the signature. It's block printing, the "i" in his signature looks like a colon, he only crosses the first "t," and he consistently favors a blue felt tip pen. The informality strikes me as playing to the "candidate you'd most like to share a beer with" strategy while the letter copy contains all the conservative rhetoric and GOP messaging you'd expect.
Ann Romney, Mitt's wife, also got in on the action on behalf of the RNC. I would have used a stamp with a mailer's cancellation mark on the closed-face gray baronial with her name printed in the cornercard in navy blue, but otherwise the package is spot-on. The two-sheet, two-page letter is "on message" with the "restore America's promise" refrain, but it is also warm and personal with a mention of meeting people on the campaign trail:
"In addition to the economic struggles I mentioned earlier, many people are facing devastating health issues. Because they are aware of my own health struggles, we share a special bond. I always take the time to listen and offer whatever encouragement I can because I know what it is like to face a devastating diagnosis and have an uncertain future. When you're hit with something really hard, you have a choice: you can give up or you can push on and keep fighting. This applies to all kinds of struggles."
I found the letter refreshing, an expression of patriotism without all the partisan bashing typical of most political mail.
On the 7-inch-by-10-inch reply there is a black-and-white photograph of the informally dressed Romneys walking hand in hand, smiling into the camera. I would have made the photo a 4-inch-by-6-inch or 5-inch-by-7-inch snapshot insert with a handwritten note from Mrs. Romney on the back to amp up the personal nature of the package. Maybe something about hoping to meet me out on the campaign trail and share a moment to speak with me in person … but until then, hoping the RNC can count on my support, reinforcing the ask.
Just 45 words
Writing for his campaign, Mitt Romney seems to be in favor of closed-face packages of various sizes, all with the "USA" presorted standard stamp. He's asked for my "Pledge of Support" in joining his Presidential Campaign Team in my state. He's sent me a durable, real-deal "Romney/Believe in America" bumper sticker and fascinating Monarch package I've so far received twice.
The white outer envelope is plain on the face, nothing but the stamp and addressing. The backflap is printed with his name and a Boston P.O. box in navy blue. Inside, a white, 7-inch-by-10.5-inch, one-page letter reads:
"Dear Ms. Seville, you know what's wrong with our country. Americans are suffering. Liberal policies are failing. You know who is responsible. For the sake of the country we love, will you help me defeat Barack Obama by contributing generously to our campaign before it is too late?"
Just 45 words, followed by the signature and a 51-word postscript with explicit instructions:"P.S. We will win this race together. Your 'Romney for President' contribution of $25, $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or some other amount, will lead me to victory over President Barack Obama. Please return your check in the enclosed envelope or you may also contribute immediately online at www.MittRomney.com/Mail."
Now, that's a mondo-fantastic dollar string for sure, but this is the most bottom-line minimalist piece of campaign fundraising mail I've seen yet this cycle.
Most of the reply device is a blue half-tone photograph of President Obama frowning as he stands outside the White House, printed behind a headline and subheads about Americans suffering and things getting worse. The return envelope is plain canary, printed blue with the Romney campaign font and a D.C. P.O. box. The backflap includes a line about contributing online with the same URL spelled out in the letter — the most stand-out piece of political mail I've seen in some time.
And from the Obamas
As Mitt Romney seems to be camped out in my mailbox, during the same time frame I heard from the president only once (he and the first lady have e-mailed, however). The president's one letter arrived in a metered closed-face white No. 10 with "President Barack Obama" printed in the cornercard in navy blue. "DSCC" and a Washington, D.C. address are on the backflap.
Inside, a two-sheet, four-page letter describes how the election is a choice and spells out those choices in language that is consistent with the president's messaging, although in this case he is writing on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Most of the package is not remarkable; it's a classic offer we've all seen, one that works in large part because of the signer.
One component stands out, though, a little tent-fold cardstock insert titled "Senate Democrats: Advancing America." The inside is printed with "Key Democratic Victories: What we've accomplished, and what's at stake." It's a nice little takeaway, handy talking points for the next time you're arguing politics at the next family get-together, I suppose.
With many weeks between now and Election Day, I suspect I haven't heard the last from either White House contender, but I'm ready. And it should be interesting, for sure.
Kimberly Seville is a creative consultant and nonprofit copywriter. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org