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Friday, February 2, 2007

Crayon Terrorism

posted by on February 2 at 16:38 PM

My coworkers are familiar with, and mystified by, my obsession with campaign mailers—those stiff-paper fliers that show up in mailboxes with increasing frequency the more often you vote. I have a folder in my file cabinet four inches thick that’s full of them. Having seen literally thousands of mailers—good, bad, mediocre, and just confusing, I have a question for the people who promote school and education levies:

WHY must you always use fake “kid’s” crayon writing to sell your campaigns? Isn’t there a more creative way of evoking “education” than kiddie-crayon scrawl? Are we supposed to feel sorry for the kids—like, if we don’t vote for your taxes, the cute little (fake) kid who wrote this campaign flier in cute little (fake) crayon writing will have to go to school in a cardboard box and we all know they don’t have crayons there! Or do you just think we’re so dumb and attention-deficient that we won’t read the writing on your fliers anyway, making the crayon-scribble a kind of semiotic code for dummies?

Whatever the reason: Please stop. I know schools are important, kids need good schools to succeed, blah, blah. Hell, the Stranger endorsed both your measures extending property taxes for schools. But: For the love of all that is good and decent, please come up with a better way of selling them to us.

RSS icon Comments


No, ECB, you're missing the point. The crayon writing actually comes from our HIGH SCHOOLS.

Posted by Gomez | February 2, 2007 4:36 PM

My pet peeve is refering to children as "kids". It's entirely acceptable when used in the context of a parent talking about his/her offspring, i.e. THESE KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!!, but it sounds like a smarmy marketing word to me, when used in publications or ads.

Children have issues that society needs to address. Kids buy things, or have things bought for them.

Yes, it's very nitpicky of me. But isn't that what peeves are about?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | February 2, 2007 5:00 PM

ECB. the point of those faux crayon marks is to get you to open the damn thing in the first place. or, if they're inside the mailer, they're designed to get you to look at their priority messages.

i work in fundraising, and i can tell you that half the battle with direct mail is just getting your piece opened. once it's open, you have about 60 seconds, tops, to make your case. the more eye-grabbing stuff, the longer you're looking at my letter.

we've studied direct mail up the wazoo... did you know that 70% of mail in the US is opened by a woman in the kitchen over a trash basket? you've got to get by her; you've got to catch her eye. and she's busy.

Posted by JAK | February 2, 2007 6:39 PM

and i also hate it when the faux scribbling contains backward letters. it's so demeaning to children.

Posted by full of pet peeves | February 3, 2007 2:19 PM

You're right, Erica, they should instead use something like, say, a black slate with white chalk-textured writing on it. And with a cartoony wood border.

Posted by robotslave | February 3, 2007 2:43 PM

Since school levies are at the bottom of the political barrel, it's not surprising that they attract the tiredest, lowest-quality marketing memes.

Posted by Fnarf | February 4, 2007 10:09 AM


By the way, I love that too!  Where did you get that at?  

See you soon! Girly Girl 

see how I make free money with paid online surveys

Posted by julieismetoo | February 16, 2007 10:18 AM

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