JOHN MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT 2008 | Urgent Personal Appeal >>

BACKGROUND
Running out of money, staff departures and a boatload of incredibly negative media stories, July was as bad of a month for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign. There was no way to sugarcoat all of the negative news and the campaign desperately needed an infusion of cash. The campaign needed to take immediate action to help diffuse the situation before the final lights went out.

RA SOLUTION
Aside from the obvious goal of raising much needed funds for the campaign, we wanted to tackle all of the bad press head-on using some of the vaunted “straight talk” for which Senator McCain is known. Our goal was to make this appeal extremely personal and re-introduce Senator McCain to the donors who have supported him in the past and remind them why they joined the campaign in the first place.

We mailed the solicitation in a blank carrier with first-class postage. This added a mystery element to the piece and increased the likelihood that the recipient would open the letter. To help us achieve the personal feel we were looking for, we used a very simple letterhead and all courier type which makes the appeal feel like a personal correspondence from the Senator. For the higher dollar donors, we included a stamped RA envelope instead of a traditional BRE.

RESULTS
Despite the negative climate surrounding the campaign and the traditionally poor fundraising month in which this appeal mailed, results were simply astounding. The mailing netted over $500,000 which is over 40% more than anything mailed previously or subsequently. We achieved these results while only mailing to about half as many donors as previous solicitations. While this mailing was in the third quarter of the year, the stellar results allowed the campaign to put a positive spin on weaker than expected second quarter fundraising reports that came out later in the month.

Both the New York Times and Time magazine carried quotes from this appeal and cited the boost that it gave to the campaign during the troubled summer months. Throughout the summer and fall, both Senator McCain and the campaign’s manager referenced the incredible outpouring of support generated by this package as a sign of the Senator’s political viability and of his future success in the primaries.

AWARDS
2008 Pollie Recipient

JOHN MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT 2008 | Cross in the Sand >>

BACKGROUND
The New Hampshire primary was do-or-die for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign. A win would provide a momentum boost that the campaign desperately needed in order to prevail in the compressed primary season, a loss would almost surely mean the end of the road for the campaign. Since the primary date was so early, we were forced to send out mailings over the Christmas holidays. This unusual timing required creative thinking and a delicate touch to be both appropriate and effective.

RA SOLUTION
Our goal with the mailing was to underscore the “character issue” through Senator McCain’s personal story as a prisoner of war and remind the voters of his service to our country. Additionally, we wanted to inform the voters of his strong, personal Christian faith which is something that the Senator rarely discusses in public. As with all direct mail, our ultimate objective was to weave these storylines into a compelling message to persuade the voters to vote for Senator McCain on primary day.

RESULTS
With this mailing, we were able to deliver a powerful and persuasive message during the key decision making time in the most important primary (to Senator McCain’s campaign). This mailing was so successful and garnered so much attention that it inspired the editor of New Hampshire’s Union Leader blog to call it “the best piece of direct mail [he’s] ever seen.” Its success also inspired the campaign to create a television ad based on the concept. Ultimately, Senator McCain went on to win the New Hampshire primary and grab the momentum that he needed to go on to the Republican nomination.

AWARDS
2008 "Gold" Pollie Recipient

MARCO RUBIO | Obama/Crist & New York Times >>

BACKGROUND
Soon after announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio was trailing by double digits against then-incumbent Governor, Charlie Crist. As a challenger candidate, Marco Rubio needed to quickly raise dollars and distinguish himself as the candidate of choice among conservatives around the country.

RA SOLUTION
Response America recognized the need from the start to conduct a strategic contrasting campaign that would help boost fundraising and support for Marco Rubio. Depicting a young, energetic, forward-thinking Conservative against a hopelessly flawed candidate enabled Response America to draw distinctions between the two candidates, giving donors a clear choice. Through the use of visual and verbal elements, including 4-color photos and copy that reflected an authenticity in tone, our team carefully produced fundraising appeals that connected with supporters and elicited an emotional response. Further, our packages helped drive the point that Marco Rubio was the candidate to get behind among supporters and donors.

RA RESULTS
Marco Rubio successfully demonstrated his growing grassroots momentum with over 100,000 new donors at an average contribution of $85, easily exceeding his opponents’ fundraising efforts. This level of fundraising is a direct reflection of the majority of support that the Marco Rubio team has managed to garner through multi-channel fundraising and mobilization. Today, the long-term program is continuing to serve as a strong source of incoming donors to Senator-elect Rubio.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE | Obama Survey >>

BACKGROUND
Coming off a disappointing finish in the 2008 Presidential election, traditional conservative donors were showing signs of apathy and cynicism. The declining economy coupled with the new Obama administration provided an opportunity for a new technique to help jumpstart new donor prospecting and improve results. Understanding the need to break through the clutter and the urgency to reunite the donor base, RA developed a bold concept survey to help replenish the RNC donor base.

RA SOLUTION
Response America went to the RNC to propose a new highly personalized survey package highlighting the threatening policies of the new administration. At a time when Obama’s popularity was still sky high nationally, RA sensed that donors were already angrily opposed to Obama and likely to step up and contribute. Response America crafted a creative survey package to help connect with this dissatisfied group of donors and turn anger into action. In addition to the emotional appeal, key creative elements of the survey were the bright yellow, official-looking envelope that broke through cluttered mailboxes and the Household and Congressional District personalization.

RESULTS
As the first agency to get into the mail with an anti-Obama package shortly after the election, RA leads the charge in developing time-sensitive, responsive mail packages that resonate and help unite a disjointed donor base. Overall response to the Obama Survey continues to be strong and is now established as an RNC control package. Since January of 2009, Response America has mailed over 38 million pieces of the Obama Agenda Survey for the RNC, helping the RNC acquire the most new donors in an off-year election cycle than ever before.

JOE WILSON | Urgent Appeal >>

BACKGROUND
Coming off the success of an unprecedented online fundraising effort, spurred by his spontaneous "you lied" interjection, Joe Wilson for Congress recognized the opportunity to continue to further expand its donor program and seize momentum and support through direct mail.

RA SOLUTION
Response America quickly went to work to identify the best package to take the Joe Wilson team nationally in the mail. The high impact design of the “Airgram” format was just the right package to deliver a timely, urgent, and highly personalized appeal to this new channel of prospective donors. With its telegram-looking outer envelope and heavily personalized letter copy, the “Airgram” package helped Joe Wilson for Congress establish itself among a different universe: national mail donors.

RESULTS
The Joe Wilson team recognized the importance of exploring multiple yet synchronistic channels of direct marketing to increase its potential donor base. In doing so, the initial prospecting mail test yielded a 5% response rate – more than double the national average. Because the initial test package was such a success, Joe Wilson for Congress continued to roll out the package and begin building a broader long-term program. Today, the long-term program is continuing to serve as a strong source of incoming donors.