With the Federal elections coming up (Canadian ones for all my American readers) all the parties have been busy debating, smiling all around and kissing babies. Email Marketing is a tactic which political parties are using and by political parties, the Liberals and the NDP (the Conservatives are curiously absent). However after months of the orange and red cluttering my inbox, the only thing differentiating them is their colours and that they are the email equivalent of an empty blockbuster flick, probably directed by Michael Bay.


Great Copy Production

Let me begin by saying that the NDP and the Liberals have some really smart marketers doing their email marketing. Their headlines are click-baity such as: “My Dog Sula” or “Thank You — For Everything”, and this timed one “You only have 3 hours left, Joshua!”, hit all the checkmarks for great headlines: personable, and a sense of urgency. They almost resemble personal emails between friends and family. The copy is also great, it’s personable, like this one with batdog.


Think of it like, Michael Bay’s Transformer films, who bear the distinction of continuously being nominated for both Razzie and Academy awards. Michael Bay is not a bad director, and the special effects are terrific.

Message are Tired Cliches

The emails were initially impressive, great copy, great headlines. An example of good marketing, until you get more of them and they all become white noise around this one idea: We rule, Harper drools, give me money. For example, take this Liberal email copy.  


For the most part, asking for donations and support is generally acceptable in political canvassing. It becomes problematic for many uninformed voter when it’s all they’re asking for. In marketing terms, their funnel is too short, and there isn’t any solid reason for uninformed voters to donate money.

The difference between a classic film and bargain bin, is that the forgettable film doesn’t offer anything new, rather just a regurgitation of overused cliches e.g. token love interest, “flawed” protagonist that isn’t really flawed, and not much else.


Producer-Focused Narrative

By ticking off all the marks for a story that has worked for, it’s all about making money. This is why Adam Sandler films (almost always godawful) keep being made. Because money is there, and why Transformer films keep being made despite poor critical reviews, they reliably make money. They aren’t there to provide us with a new and greater film experience but knowing that they make money.


To wit, the NDP and Liberals have a lot of money poured into it, but they are not offering anything new except to win the hearts and minds with strong email copy but ultimately vapid content. Maybe offering people content to persuade potential voters why they should vote for them, or even encouraging liking/sharing on social media as a way to expand one’s presence would offer something varied.

I’ve always said that story goes a long way in persuading people. However without significant content, and rewriting the same theme (give us money, give us money) it becomes boring pretty quickly. It’s akin to those washy romance novels you buy at convenience stores. Devoured by a subset of the population but doesn’t reach out to the rest. In the end, sharp copy and great headlines can only go so far, it takes providing people what they want that makes success.