Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper may have the right idea (as well as a fun name to say) regarding his campaign commercials in his bid to become Colorado’s next governor. While the ad doesn’t really say much about what he’ll do if elected, it is critical of negative campaigning and may resonate well with voters. The spot was recently featured on The Fix.
Earlier this year, when the U.S. Supreme Court eased the rules on corporate giving to political campaigns, it was deemed a victory for the business community. However, Target recently discovered that this can be quite polarizing. When the company donated to a group supporting a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate for his approach toward economic growth and job creation, it soon received a backlash from employees for his views on social issues. Minnesota Public Radio reports:
The CEO of Minneapolis based Target Corporation is apologizing for a donation the company made to a political group supporting Republican Tom Emmer’s bid for governor.
The contribution to MN Forward prompted a backlash from Democrats and gay rights groups who called for boycotts of the company’s stores. At least one gay rights organization is praising the apology but is waiting to see whether it follows up with its renewed emphasis on supporting gay rights causes.
In a letter to Target employees, CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote that the purpose of the $150,000 donation to MN Forward was to support economic growth and job creation, but he wrote that the contribution affected many employees in ways he did not anticipate and quote "for that I am deeply sorry."
Target spokeswoman Lena Michaud said the company will also do a strategic review of political donations and plans to lead a discussion on improving gay rights in the workplace.
"Our commitment right now is in letting people know that we’ve heard their feedback and we’re really sorry that we’ve let them down," Michaud said. "We want to continue doing the many things that Target has done as a company to foster our inclusive corporate culture and then look at ways of doing things better in the future."
The company’s tone has changed dramatically since it became public in July that the company contributed to MN Forward. At the time of the donation, Target officials said the company gave to both Democrats and Republicans and the contribution was aimed at fostering a better business climate in Minnesota. But the donation to Minnesota Forward and the group’s subsequent TV ad in support of Tom Emmer ignited a backlash that spread nationwide.
Michaud wouldn’t say if the boycott affected the company’s sales and also wouldn’t say whether Target would stop making political donations to MN Forward or other groups.
That’s what Monica Meyer, executive director of the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota, said she’ll be watching for. Meyer said she’s pleased Target apologized for the contribution, but she wants to make sure the company follows up on its promise to be committed to gay rights.
Don’t miss Election Night Central tonight 6 p.m.-??? at www.indianachamber.com; latest results; video commentary; blog and Twitter updates as primary results roll in through the night!
For now, please enjoy Political Week on our blog, featuring popular guest bloggers from around the state!
IBRG, the political arm for the Indiana Chamber, has a long relationship with The Strategy Group for Media in working together to do political TV advertising for IBRG endorsed candidates. The Strategy Group for Media has been honored with 6 "Pollie Awards" and 11 "Telly Awards" for creative advertising produced in 2008. They were recognized by the American Association of Political Consultants and Public Affairs Professionals at its recent annual awards conference. The "Pollies" are widely recognized as the political Oscars. The Telly Awards were presented for creative TV produced in 2008. The Telly Awards honor "the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials."
Our favorite TV spot they produced for IBRG in 2008 was in support of the Randy Truitt for State Representative campaign. This was an open seat race that Truitt won by 26 votes after a recount. The Truitt ad came at a critical juncture in the campaign and helped to successfully shift the message to highlight Truitt’s economic development background.
Congratulations to our friends and partners Rex Elsass, Scott Schweitzer and the rest of the talented staff at The Strategy Group for Media on your awards and producing the most creative and compelling political advertising for IBRG. They are well earned.
Early this year, IBRG mail vendor Faulkner Strategies won a Reed Award. See that post here.
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ blog has a post explaining how some folks, who may lack free speech privileges in their countries, are using Facebook as a way to broadcast their political messages:
This ‘Facebook political movement’ has also taken off in Egypt. One blogger, Sandmonkey, talks about how new media are being used to promote political activism. The LA Times wrote an op-ed on how the Egyptian government has threatened to shut down Facebook, after it was credited for helping to mobilize protests against food prices earlier this year. Moroccans used YouTube to capture protesters clashing with security forces, because sights like this would not be shown on state-run TV. Activists in Lebanon used text messaging to organize an anti-Syria rally.
And as I’ve posted before, Congress has gotten in on the social media action via Twitter. In fact, Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates — Governor Mitch Daniels and challenger Jill Long Thompson — currently have their own feeds (as best I can tell, these are official campaign feeds and not just orchestrated by fans).