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Presidential Candidates Can't Resist Holiday Appeal in E-mails

  |  November 21, 2007   |  Comments

Special days like Thanksgiving, Halloween and birthdays have been used as e-mail themes recently for top 2008 presidential candidates.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgAnniversaries and holidays elicit thoughts of family, togetherness, home cookin', and for political candidates, e-mail fundraising. For top-polled 2008 presidential candidates, special days like birthdays, Halloween, and even the anniversary of the day Congress signed off on the War in Iraq, have been used as e-mail themes recently.

"As a member of our campaign family, if you donate just $20.08 (for the year we'll elect my son the next president of the Unites States!), I'll send you Elizabeth's recipe for bread pudding, David and Judy Bonior's recipes for 'Sweet Potatoes with Apples'…and my own special recipe for one of John's favorites, Mac n' Cheese!,' " wrote Bobbie Edwards, mother of Democratic candidate John Edwards, in a message sent by his campaign on Monday.

The Edwards campaign has been especially friendly and comfort food-oriented in its e-mail communications this year. According to information provided by Email Data Source, in June, it sent e-mails offering a family pecan pie recipe in exchange for donations, and promoted a video featuring the campaign's Senior Advisor Joe Trippi attempting to bake the dessert for the candidate's birthday.

Halloween became a theme for the Edwards campaign in an e-mail sent on October 31 with the subject line, "Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue." The missive displayed the image of a newspaper spoof called "Scary Times" which included headlines like, "Giuliani Elected in Historic Landslide," and "Ann Coulter tapped as spokesperson."

Perhaps not coincidentally, Senator John McCain's campaign also used a newspaper theme in an e-mail message sent on Halloween. However, rather than featuring a Democrat's nightmare scenario, the Republican campaign took a positive approach. "McCain Beats Clinton," read the subject line and newspaper image in the e-mail.

Taking a cue from the earlier birthday-inspired Edwards e-mails, Hillary Clinton's campaign sent birthday messages to the candidate from husband Bill as well as Clinton Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle. "It was her first birthday as First Lady," read a message from Doyle sent October 25. "After all the talk of her changing hairstyles during the campaign, the staff thought it would be funny to surprise her by dressing up as different 'Hillarys' -- there was Headband Hillary, Campaign Hillary, Lawyer Hillary, Short-Hair Hillary…This year, I hope we'll start a new tradition: sharing birthday wishes from thousands upon thousands of her supporters."

The campaign for Clinton rival Barack Obama also shared in a moment of reminiscence with e-mail recipients. "I want you to think back and remember something," went the October 11 message. "Five years ago today was a dark day for our country. Too many Democrats followed the politics of the moment and voted to let George Bush invade Iraq." The message requested supporters participate in door-to-door canvassing to end the war, and like most e-mails sent by the candidates, featured a prominent "Donate" button.

John McCain 2008 also focused on an anniversary of sorts in e-mails alluding to the Republican Senator's captivity in Vietnam. A number of messages sent on or near October 26 referenced the day McCain was shot down and made a prisoner of war in 1967. "One of the rituals of the POWs in Vietnam was to send messages of 'congratulations' to a fellow POW… that recognized the anniversary of the tragic day the pilot was shot down, commonly referred to as 'shootdown day,' " explained one e-mail. "Click here to read a 'Happy Shootdown Day' message from John McCain's fellow POWs."

John McCain 2008 sent 13 e-mail messages in October. Opponent Fred Thompson's campaign sent six e-mails, the fewest in October; those were mainly "Weekly Updates" focusing on topics such as the recent GOP debate, border security, lower taxes and registering new voters. Rudy Giuliani for President sent seven messages. Many included several links to video of press coverage and footage from the campaign trail, as well as links to social sites like Flickr, Facebook and Eons, a social network for the over-50 set. Thompson's e-mails have also linked to a variety of social sites including YouTube, del.icio.us and Twitter.

Overall, the three top Democratic candidate campaigns sent more e-mails in the month of October than their Republican counterparts, though candidates from both sides sent e-mails targeted regionally in addition to messages aimed at a national audience. Edwards for President sent 18 e-mails, Obama for America sent 19 and Hillary Clinton for President sent 15.

Recent E-mails from
Hillary Clinton for President
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"My favorite Hillary birthday story" "Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary for President" 10.25 story of staff dressing as different "Hillarys" through the years, send birthday message Sign Hillary's Card, Contribute
"We're coming to Illinois" "Guy Cecil, Hillary for President" 10.24 organizational meetings and training in Chicago, please forward Register for training
Source: Email Data Source, 2007

Recent E-mails from
John Edwards for President
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"Check this out - big moment in tonight's debate" "Joe Trippi, Edwards for President" 10.31 "I know it's late, but" Democratic Debate, favorite moment, video link debate, video link
"Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue" "Jonathan Prince, Edwards for President" 10.31 "Scary Times" newspaper spoof, Matching fund deadline, Edwards can win blue and swing states, could lose majorities in Congress Donate, Join the Campaign, Make a Contribution, Spread the Word
Source: Email Data Source, 2007

Recent E-mails from
Obama for America
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"Obama for America" "New fall gear" 10.31 new items at Obama Store, fleeces, sweatshirts, long-sleeve tees early primaries just two months away, show support store, donate
"Invite: Barack in Texas" "Obama for America" 10.30 Countdown to Change event in Austin, caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina purchase tickets, donate
Source: Email Data Source, 2007

Recent E-mails from
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"Don't Just Take My Word For It" "Michael DuHaime, Team Rudy" 10.26 recent events, GOP debate, Hillary Clinton, news coverage, "Why Rudy?" CGM site feature Why Rudy?, Media Center, several video links
"Rudy's Leadership Earned My Endorsement" "Governor Rick Perry" 10.18 terrorism, healthcare, border security, donate Why rudy? Media center, donate, press coverage, media appearances video, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, YouTube, MySpace, Blip.tv, Eons, gather.com
Source: Email Data Source, 2007

Recent E-mails from
John McCain 2008
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"McCain Beats Clinton" "McCain News Alert" 10.31 image of newspaper with headline, "McCain Beats Clinton" Read All About It! Click Here Today.
"Shameful Spending" "John McCain" 10.30 wasteful spending on studying DNA of bears and peanut storage, Woodstock museum, donate, support Online donation, join campaign against wasteful spending
Source: Email Data Source, 2007

Recent E-mails from
Friends of Fred Thompson
Subject Sender Date Message/Issues Content Links
"Weekly Update" "Bill Lacy, Friends of Fred Thompson" 10.30 Iowa GOP Reagan Day Dinner, second amendment rights Sign up 10 New Friends of Fred, Contribute, links to blogs/media coverage, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, del.icio.us, Twitter
"Weekly Update" "William B. Lacy, Friends of Fred Thompson" 10.23 GOP debate, register new voters, border security proposal, debate commentary in media Watch debate clips, register new voters, border security proposal, contribute, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, del.icio.us, Twitter
Source: Email Data Source, 2007


Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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