on Nov 5th, 2012 in Products & Services | 9 comments
 
As one of the most hotly contested election campaigns in years comes to a close tomorrow, the media is filled with campaign ads. Whether in the morning newspaper, through social media websites, or during commercial breaks on television, we hear constantly about various candidates and ballot referenda. The mailbox is no exception -- direct mail continues to be a widely used political advertising strategy. Recent reports indicate that nearly 2 billion pieces of political mail have been sent this election cycle, and the Postal Service projects it will earn nearly $400 million in revenue from this volume.   If you live in a swing state, such as Colorado, Ohio, or Virginia, your mailbox might have been full of political campaign mail all year long. In these battleground states, no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's Electoral College votes.  Political campaign mail is a targeted and cost-effective way for the candidates to get their message to their intended audience. If you live in an area with hotly contested state or local elections, you've probably received a great deal of mail from their respective campaigns as well.  The boost in political mail volumes is a testament to the power of direct mail. More dollars may be spent on television advertising, but the ability of mail to pinpoint a message to voters at a reasonable price is especially attractive to candidates and the national parties. However, using this method too much can backfire. Voters report that the barrage of mail prompts them to tune out the message altogether. They throw away or recycle the mail without even opening the piece. Did you find the mailings effective? Did they help to inform your views of a candidate or a voter proposition? Or did the increased amount of political mail cause you to tune out the message? What advantages and disadvantages do you see over newspaper, television, or Internet advertising? Let us know what you think.

9 Comments


I'm from a swing state and we have been receiving political mail everday now for quite some time - and lately, multiple large pieces from each of the two candidates. None of the mailings contained information to assist with making informed voting decisions - just the typical political half-truths repeated over and over.

I'm not from a swing state and my political mail for the presidential election has been one-sided, just appeals for fundraising. I think they know I already have made up my mind and the other side stopped (or never did) send anything to me.

I live in Virginia, a swing state, and we have been receiving an increased amount of political campaign mail this year. It seems to have accelerated as we neared Election Day.

Unlike TV ads, which makes everyone in the house dash for the mute button on the remote control, we look at the campaign mail that comes into the house. Not because it will sway our votes, necessarily, but because its interesting to see "what they're up to now" meaning, what half-truths and non-truths are the candidates proposing. Most of the mail was targetted to the Presidential race, but the senatorial and congressional candidates got the word out, too. I tended to look at the larger than letter sized mailings more.

Maybe in the local elecrions next year the candidates will take advantage of the Every Door Direct Mail - seems like it would be cost-effective.

I don't live in a swing state and I agree the mail was a bit one sided. However, if you contribute to the other party or show an interest in their campaign you will certainly hear their views, family photos, as well as requests for $ to make it happen. Some are by mail and others will flood social media such as email and robo calls.

I made an interesting observation as well when I went into my local post office to mail a package overnight on Monday, November 5th. Three of the 5 customers in line wanted to know if they could vote at the post office. I chatted with the retail associate that assisted me and he said it happens every year, some customers even get irrate that the post office doesn't offer that service.

From a fiscal standpoint, I say keep the mail coming. The more revenue the better. It's not illegal and offers the American public information that in some cases may not be available in any other way.

We were flooded with campaign mail in the last few weeks - read it all. Wow, I'm glad the television ads are done! I'm more likely to trust what I read than what I hear or see...that makes no sense maybe, but that's my observation. So, keep the mail coming.

I would LOVE to vote at the Post Office, especially if it was easy to vote-by-mail. I'm in a small town (no lines at the polls), but I bet people in urbanized and suburban areas would find it makes their lives easier.

Any chance the Post Office can use cyber-voting to move us all away from paper and generate some revenue at the same time? Seems like it would be a good time to explore that, before the next Presidential campaign season and election.

I noticed an increase in political advertisements on the radio and a decrease in campaign materials within my mailbox. I wonder if that's because I don't live in a swing state or simply election campaigns looking for other ways to get their message out. I am glad the noise has stopped and the radio is back to playing music.

SMN- that's a great point about the invasiveness of radio and even TV advertising. The thing that I like about getting mail versus other advertising is that it is much less invasive - and noise free! I can read it when I want and don't have to listen to dark, ominous music about a particular opponent candidate. Friends of mine have been complaining about being on Facebook and having plotical ads pop up randonly.

I wonder if any studies have been done showing the benefits of mail advertising versus other forms? Does anyone know?

Several comments here relate to e-voting or in person at a post office. If you had the choice of voting at a post office, online, by mail, or in person at tradiutional polling place, which would you? Why?

It seems no matter what the mode of voting -- in person, by mail, or online --- campaign mail will continue to attempt to influence the vote.

I didn't read any of it. It all went into the trash with the rest of the junk mail.

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