We're happy to announce that the Dover Group walked away with five AAPC "Pollie" awards in 2013! You can browse our award-winning work below. Click on the thumbnails to see full mail pieces and websites.
Mail for U.S. House Democrat - Tulsi Gabbard "Tulsi's Decision"
Tulsi Gabbard was an active member of the Hawai’i National Guard with two tours of duty in the Middle East. We were confident that if we had the opportunity to tell Tulsi’s personal story, we could quickly close the polling gap.
One of the most interesting chapters in her background was her decision to give up her safe seat in the Hawai’i legislature to serve in the Hawai’i National Guard. She remembered watching troops fighting in the Middle East in 2003 on a TV from her office in the state capitol and felt compelled to be part of what she called “the defining event of my generation.” She volunteered for the guard and, after training, specialized in medical logistics.
In July of 2004, many of the men and women with whom she had trained and served were set to deploy. Tulsi volunteered to be deployed and, in doing so, became the first elected official in Hawai’i to surrender an elected office to serve in a war zone.
We wanted voters to consider that, if she was willing to give up that much to fight for her country, she would fight just as hard for them in Congress.
Thanks to a combination of campaign paid media (including our direct mail), grassroots organizing, and third party support, Tulsi turned that 45-point deficit into a 21-point win on primary day - a stunning 66-point reversal. The mail that introduced Tulsi to primary voters in the 2nd District played a significant role in that turnaround.
Best Use of Negative/Contrast U.S. House Democrat - George Badey "Dark Alley"
Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District was, for the last several election cycles, a competitive district that was held by Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak. After redistricting, the district took on an odd “U” shape with some pieces connected to the whole by geographically narrow strips of land. The expectation was that the new lines made Meehan unbeatable.
However, our polling indicated that Meehan was vulnerable on some key issues, most notably a woman’s right to choose. With the electorate, especially moderate Republican women, growing increasingly frustrated with Republicans thanks to candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock as well as the GOP-led Congressional hearings on women’s reproductive rights and health care, there was a narrow window to put Meehan on the defensive and peel off enough Republican voters to steal a win.
To fit through that narrow window, we knew that we would have to first establish the credibility of our candidate, George Badey, on women’s issues. Our program began with two positive pieces about his support for a woman’s right to choose.
The goal of this piece and all of our negative pieces was to educate and inform voters in the district about Meehan’s record. Our targets were primarily moderate Ds and Rs with a heavy focus on women.
In addition to educating voters, we also wanted to make sure we were striking at an emotional core. This piece in particular was designed to remind women what was truly at stake. Pat Meehan’s views meant a return to the days when women did not have the right to choose and back alley procedures were the only option.
Best Use of Early/Absentee Voting - Democrat - Cuyahoga County Democrats
Ohio's ballot system allows voters to cast their votes early and absentee by mail. Cuyahoga County is a Democratic stronghold that President Obama had to dominate in order to win the state. In 2008, he earned 68.5 percent of the vote in Cuyahoga County and won it by a margin of nearly 250,000 votes, enough to secure victory by just over 200,000 votes in Ohio.
Understandably, the Cuyahoga County Democrats wanted to implement an aggressive early vote and absentee program in order to educate and inform voters about their opportunity to vote early and remind them to request ballots, fill them out, and send them back in.
However, this required getting people’s attention and educating them in a simple, easy to follow way. We used some traditional, non-political styles as inspiration for the piece, and we also used a color palette that provided a visual connection to the Obama campaign’s branding.
In the big picture, this mail piece was intended to help provide the Obama campaign and the entire Democratic ticket with the margin they needed to win.
The early vote program helped increase overall turnout of registered voters in the county by ten percent over 2008. What’s more, Democrats significantly outperformed Republicans in early voting.
In nine Cleveland precincts Obama won unanimously. He carried at least 75 percent of the vote in nearly half of the precincts countywide (489 of 1,063).
According to the Plain Dealer, “The unofficial tally shows that Obama won Cuyahoga County by 236,478 votes. In Ohio's other 87 counties combined, Romney won by 129,219 votes. In other words, without Cuyahoga County, Romney was the winner in Ohio.”
Website State/Statewide Democrat - Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord
Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord started his career on Capitol Hill, but spent the majority of his time prior to running for treasurer in the private sector as an investor in startup companies, especially those in the technology sector. His non-political, business background was a key part of the campaign’s messaging in both 2008 and 2012.
With that in mind, from a design perspective, we wanted to present voters with a site that had a sleek, corporate sensibility that underscored McCord’s business background
The website broke down his accomplishments by category to match the campaign’s messaging: investment successes, improved efficiency, and security for seniors. Those were the issues on which McCord campaigned in 2008 and were the cornerstones of his accomplishments in office in his first term.
The site received 50,000 visitors in the months leading up to the election. The average visitor viewed three pages, proving that not only was the splash page effectively driving visitors to the content, but that they were also taking the time to interact with the site to learn more about McCord and his accomplishments.
In the end, McCord won reelection 52.5 to 44.
Website Local - Connect KC
When asking voters to support the development of a streetcar line, Kansas City chose to use a mail-in voting method prescribed by state statute for two separate elections: First to establish a Transit Development District (TDD), and second to fund the project.
The website was intended to serve two specific goals:
First, because the campaign was a unique one featuring two elections, the website was intended to provide simple, persuasive information about the project, its benefits, and its supporters.
Second, the website was built to help us drive turnout by educating and informing voters about deadlines and election dates. The website was continually updated with information and the campaign created a countdown for the final 8 days before each election, complete with a graphic to explain how to get the ballot submitted by the deadline.
The website generated significantly more traffic than what we expected given the eligible voter pool. Through both of the ballot questions, the website generated 4,070 total page views and roughly 3,050 unique visitors despite only 2,600 voters being eligible to participate.
In the end, both campaigns were successful. The first vote passed with 69% of voters voting to create the TDD. The second vote resulted in a 64% win for our campaign.