November 13, 2013

One reason Cockayne won: Newspaper ads

Republican Ken Cockayne used his healthy campaign war chest to run a race that wouldn't have seemed out of place 20 years ago, or 20 years before that, or even 20 years before that.
And maybe that was part of the reason he won.
Instead of crunching numbers on a computer, he took his cash and bought a whole bunch of orange signs that wound up posted all over town.
And he bought orange pens to match his campaign color and handed them to one and all. They were actually pretty good.
And he purchased orange pencils that got handed out at the polls.
And in one of those moves that any campaign strategist would scoff at Cockayne bought a whole bunch of high-profile advertisements in the local newspaper, The Bristol Press, the very place that pays me now and again.
For eight days before the election, Cockayne had front page ads touting his race for the city's top office. For good measure, his ads were on the paper's website, too.
Now I heard beforehand that the ads were silly, a waste, reaching the wrong people in the wrong format.
But it turned out that he did something right.
Let's face it, anyone who bothers to read a local newspaper these days, especially in print, is likely to vote in a municipal election. They've already shown they care about the city in a way that non-readers, as a whole, don't.
And, yeah, they're more apt to be older if they read the print version. Older people are way more likely to show up at the polls than younger ones, if only because they have the time and the experience to recognize that elections actually matter.
So, candidates, when that newspaper ad rep comes calling, you might want to think seriously about buying some space. There's reason to think it matters.

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