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MANDATE MEDIAdigital strategy for people changing the world

Don't use fake quotes in draft emails. Especially if you're calling your opponent an asshole.

A few years back, a friend in higher education told me that her college had to reprint tens of thousands of dollars worth of those glossy viewbooks because they failed to swap out a fake promise of "millions in water polo scholarships."

And now, the Kansas campaign of Jim Slattery for U.S. Senate has been embarassed (and suspended a staffer) for accidentally sending a broadcast email with a placeholder quote:

John from Dodge City shared this,
"Pat Roberts... is an asshole"

Seriously, folks. Remember the first rule: Don't do anything that might get you fired. From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

A campaign aide for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Slattery was suspended today for sending to thousands of people an e-mail containing unflattering comments about Republican rival Pat Roberts.

And don't blame the technology. The technology didn't magically put those seven letters together. More from the C-J:

In the follow-up explanatory e-mail, Staples said "technical issues on the part of our software vendor" contributed to a "system malfunction" that automatically sent the draft document to e-mail accounts.

As the C-J editorialized:

As self-inflicted wounds go, the e-mail blunder by Jim Slattery's campaign staff was a doozy. ... [T]he campaign stumbled in citing computer problems for the gaffe. Whatever. It's hard to believe a computer was at fault for someone typing an offensive word on a keyboard and saving the document. What's harder to believe is that anyone in the public eye would still include such a term in a computer document, especially an e-mail. ... It remains to be seen how much the issue will hurt Slattery's campaign, but it certainly didn't help. At worst, it makes the Slattery campaign — and, by reflection, Slattery himself — look amateurish and poorly organized.

'Nuff said.

Team Slattery, now that you've taken your lumps, get back to work. Just 70 days or so to beat Pat Roberts.

Posted on September 1, 2008 in email strategy | See full archives