Wordsmiths needed


I'm Mark Hufford, the NC Democratic Party's Western Political Director (and part of the DNC's 50-state strategy).

I'm not a big blogger, but am a frequent reader of BlueNC. Rather than simply replying to yesterday's string about our "BurmaShave"-style branding campaign I thought you'd appreciate hearing a little about it from the horse's mouth (which I guess makes me the horse). Importantly, we also need your help!

As mentioned, the branding effort came out of a group called the Western Task Force -- activists from around the West who examined the entire infrastructure and operations of the Party in our 33 Western counties. One subcommittee, led by Paul Donahue of Henderson County, looked at how Democrats are perceived here and what we could do about it, in an affordable way.

And the short answer is, we're perceived as spineless, wimpy complainers who don't stand for anything.

Of course the facts show just the opposite -- that Democrats here and elsewhere over the last century created programs that lift people up and make possible the hope and opportunity that America is all about. Western NC Democrats for the most part are deeply spiritual, are committed to standing up for the least among us, and would give the shirt off their back to a neighbor in need.

But we forgot to market ourselves -- to support our Democratic "brand" with repeated messages about what we do and why we do it. And our support has eroded, especially among certain demographic groups.

To change this trend we need to speak out as Democrats in every way we can -- to remind poeple what makes us Democrats. In an age where communications are increasingly impersonal, we need to "brand" ourselves one-on-one in conversations with neighbors and friends. And we need to find ways to get our message out affordably, in ways that get attention.

There are many reasons we chose the roadside sign campaign, but the nostalgic feel of the signs is a part I really like. It reminds voters of the successful legacy Democrats created in the heyday of BurmaShave -- those "Happy Motoring" days of the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s.

BlueNC's DramaQueen wrote most of the jingles we're using, but we need the literary talents of other bloggers to write letters to the editor to support this messaging/branding campaign. This could add tremendously to its overall impact. Write me at mhufford@ncdp.org and I'll fill you in on how you can help.

The signs are meant for rural areas where people are driving between 20 and 40, and are intended to be placed on private property in visible locations. If you have a good location in a county West of I-77, email me and I'll connect you with the right person.

I appreciate the comments folks made yesterday. Please rest assured that tweaks continue to be made to this pilot project. It's a project we can all have fun with. In Iredell County, I've heard that one of our activists is now putting roofing tar all over the frame of his signs to address the possibility of vandalism.

In his case, the message is sure to stick in more ways than one. With the help of you wordsmiths, the images of what Democrats stand for will also stick in people's minds.


Thanks, Mark

I appreciate this post, and it has my vote for the front page. And you've definitely come to the right place: if there's one thing for which bloggers can be counted on, it's strong words!

I'm hopeful that this thread will yield some great results. Let me throw out one (not necessarily great) for starters:

Do you value
people over $$$?
freedom over fear?
jobs over 'free trade'?
there is a party for you
WNC Democratic Party

Ok, so it's a start. It's kind of fun, like writing a haiku!

Thanks, Lance. Before you

Thanks, Lance. Before you get started, though, let me clarify that I'm looking for letter-to-the-editor writers, not more BurmaShave jingles (although I did enjoy yours). Our jingles are all set.

I do, however, have talking points for people willing to submit letters. If they'll email the address in my post I'll forward info to them.

Dammit, I wanted to play Burma Shave!

Sorry 'bout that. It's possible that I got so excited that I jumped into commenting before I finished reading the whole post.

Set up an online

BlueNC Burma Shave Sign Generator!

There probably already is one out there - I'm just too lazy to look right now.

Thanks, Mark.

I had a good conversation with Jerry yesterday and am jazzed about all the good stuff underway. Add me to your list of letter writers and call on me to write whatever you need whenever you need it. I'm obviously not a westerner, but I can approximate a decent mountain drawl on a good day. I'll email you.

I'm in, Mark

LTEs galore. Maybe Lance and his indefatigable team of code monkeys will create a database of addresses for NC newspapers that haven't discovered the internets.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Start writing

It may be a little out of date but try this from the morgue.

If you want to target, this is also out of date but can narrow the field to higher circulation

Thanks, Mark

I'm already involved in this project through the Gaston County Democratic Party, but for those who are not, I heartily suggest your participation. There has been nothing worse for me than to hear the rightwing nutjobs constantly spout their insane, hateful nonsense and then find that people support them because "at least they stand for something!" I say that with that kind of logic, we should bring back Hitler.

At any rate, it's time for us Democrats to get into the voters' faces and make our point loud, clear, and often. We, at least, want what is best for folks.


my wife and i just came back from a funeral in madison county, and on the way home we saw that the "burma shave" signs on hwy. 25/70 (close to the 213 turnoff) were all knocked down.

Still trying

to get outa this hotel room so I can do more in WNC, Mark. You know where I'll be as soon as I can dump the job.

Go get 'em.

I'll be happy to write LTEs

Keep me on the list.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Burma Shave Signs

We have the sign program in place in Mooresville. We have the setup on the corner of Statesville Ave, and Hwy3( E. Iredell Ave.) This is a major corner in the middle of town. They have stayed up all week and we'll change over to the next program on Friday. They are getting viewed by a lot of traffic on Hwy 3. Unfortunately we have the right wing thieves taking down our signs on Hwy 150 near Lake Norman. That has happened twice now. I wish we could get police action on that, given the time and effort it takes to get them planted in the clay. we will keep hammering the rethugs one way or another.