Nos on Campaign Literature

9-1-02 The best print I saw this year (outside of our own work of course), was Eric Schneiderman's 8-page tabloid for his State Senate campaign.

He also had a really awful flyer and a broken website. On the plus side, his truly outstanding campaign organization worked to woo us into his camp with repeated -- but NOT annoying -- phone calls.

9-4-02 Robert Toricelli's TV ads are terrific. So good, in fact, that I thought they were done by Frank Baraff.

9-10-02 It's the night of the NY primary, but I haven't heard the results yet -- except that Cynthia Doty thought she'd come in second. Here are some thoughts:


Here are Frank Baraff's thoughts on the use of 4 color process:

Now that everybody and his brother are starting to use it, it begins to lose
some of its impact in this way:

In local races, where 6-8 mailings are the norm, doing full color probably
means being able to afford two less mailings. As you and I know, powerful
message, clearly and repetitively stated, trumps weak message with glitzy

Although I am using a lot of 4 color myself these days, I always make sure
that the client can truly afford it before going down that road. That
analysis weakens my portfolio but strengthens my clients.

Of course, when you get into the big numbers of state-wide campaigns, the
cost differential is much less, and it is likely that changing printing
technology will continue to reduce the cost differential for smaller runs as

Primary results from the Cynthia Doty website:

N.Y. State 69th Assembly District
Candidate Votes Percent
Daniel J. O'Donnell  4,952 33.59%
Cynthia L. Doty  2,557 17.34%
Joyce S. Johnson  2,386 16.18%
Ari Goodman  1,702 11.55%
Louis M. Nunez  1,536 10.42%
Steve F. Strauss  864 5.86%
Michael E. Brown  481 3.26%
Francisco A. Spies  265 1.80%
Total Votes  14,743 100%
Precincts Reporting - 108 out of 108 - 100%

Curtis Arluck responds:

I pretty much agree with your campaign lit. analysis. I didn't see that many of Schneiderman's mailers, as I don' t live in the district any more (sniff). But the newspaper was truly great; in fact it was my source material for the Bway Dems blurb, which is why I kept over-writing.

I didn't like Danny's literature as much as you did; I think his campaign staff wasn't that crazy about it, either. But the mailers were better than the street pieces. These suffered because Danny was far and away the hardest working candidate (Ari was probably second; Cynthia and Joyce lagged behind), and he also had the most volunteers; he needed better stuff, with his name and photo more obvious, to hand out on the street. The big question was about his RFK piece: brilliant or folly? Most people loved it, especially women; some hated it, either for technical reasons (too much white space; a lame tag line) or because it reinforced their negative personal feelings about him.

Cynthia's last piece was great; Doug Gordun thought it was the best piece of the campaign. I rather intensely disliked the woman piece; it was dishonest (we're "represented" by Denny Farrell, but not by Hillary, Virginia or Gale?), she had no women's movement supporters, and that was not at all what her career was about. I definitely met women on the street who responded to it,  but a lot of people were turned off by it, and I had a 100% success rate in blowing its logic out of the water. I liked her poster a lot more than Danny's, though the blowup of it in the storefront looked ghastly. In general, I don't like posters, but I guess you have to do them if your opponent does them, and they have a similar effect on your more manic supporters as taking your dog out for a walk.

Joyce's stuff I thought was pretty good -- it got its message out to its target audience without offending the non-target audience. I much prefer Steve to Ari, but I have to say that both of their stuff was dreck; Ari's more obnoxious, Steve's more self-indulgent. Most voters I spoke to hated Ari's stuff, and the "good man" slogan was justly ridiculed. And he was phone banking throughout Rosh Hashanah -- what a hypocrite. Steve's was just silly. I, like most people, threw his later mailings out without opening them.

The net effect of Steve and Ari's useless barrage -- what, 15 mailings between them? -- was to really muck everybody else up at the end. This hurt Danny the least, because he had the most other stuff going for him. Cynthia's excellent final piece was lost in the shuffle, as was Bob Ginsberg's and to a lesser extent the club pieces. We got tremendous praise for our piece, and our club members loved it, but I got the impression that many fewer voters saw it, because they were so swamped. (Also, perhaps, too many people thought it was just for the statewide candidates and didn't open it up.) The result was that our local officials' percentages dropped. Bob went from 70-30 to 65-35; Lynn from 72-28 to 52-36-12. Two years ago our lowest delegate beat their highest by 1700 votes, this year it was less than 500, with the "head" of the ticket, Nuñez, only getting 10% of the vote. Some of this is attributable to the fact that CFD didn't do much, but most, I believe, is that the club pieces got lost in the spam.

Ralph Andrew's comments:

The message in the literature (by Levinson of the Advance Group) STUNK—according to critics.
Phone banking

I was a lot more impressed by the phone calls in State Senate race that had substance (like Gotbaum for Linares or Leichter for Eric) than I was by the calls from an actress touting her role in "Sex and the City."

Working Families

Am still annoyed at them for taking liberal Dems out of the Democratic Party and then thinking they should be able to control the Democratic primaries.


I saw posters for nine candidates--including Gerard Powell, who was thrown off the ballot!  I think postering was the ONLY campaigning that Michael Brown did.


I got calls from NON-political types asking: what is this Strauss nonsense with “fish, etc.”? A worse campaign without a message I can't imagine. What a way to piss away $90,000 of your own money!


Goodman was not the ONLY candidate off on timing with his last minute barrage. Cynthia Doty's "senior" piece should have gone out in mid-August when the old-timers were sitting at home waiting for the mail--not in the last two days amidst the clutter of eight candidates. 

On Cynthia Doty<

I regret that we were unable to make Cynthia the housing candidate, though clearly she could never break out after O'Donnell's NYT endorsement. Her campaign organization only took off in the last few weeks before the primary. All in all, she ran well and has a lot to be proud of.

Nos 10-11-02

I was looking over some lit from last year's mayoral election. I had remembered Mark Green imploding -- but I forgot that Bloomberg had also used some pretty strong negative mailings against Mark.