Friday, August 8

Fracturing Brands: State Assemblywoman Cracks


Nevada Assemblywoman Francis Allen might consider stepping under a doorjamb or ducking for cover under a sturdy desk. That’s all there is left to do during a credibility earthquake.

After several years of brand erosion that prompted a case study into her recent local campaign gone wrong, the ground has given way.

It now seems one of the newest campaign mailers sent by Allen claims a police endorsement that she does not have. Given that she was arrested just a few weeks ago, it's no wonder the faux endorsement sparked the following lead line in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story written by reporter Molly Ball:

Assemblywoman Francis Allen can say she's been arrested by members of the Metropolitan Police Department, but she can't say she's been endorsed by them in the current election.

Allen claims it was a mistake. But it’s not the first time. She mislead voters by claiming to have the endorsement of the Nevada Republican Party in a heated primary two years ago. Not only did she did not have that endorsement, but the Nevada Republican Party sent a scathing letter to area residents reprimanding her.

There will be no scathing letter this time. David Kallas, director of government affairs for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro (LVPPAM) said he is inclined to consider it a mistake. Apparently, Kallas sees how Allen might have mistaken fancy bracelets and a free photo shoot as a show of support.

The logic here is almost as silly as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's office sending out a release to say that "Detroit's government will continue to operate as usual" after the mayor was sentenced to jail.

Why am I not convinced it was a mistake? A few weeks ago, Allen took down hundreds of signs that one resident dubbed ”Mustache Francis.” "Mustache Francis" signs carried the police endorsement. Her new signs, dubbed ”Photoshop Francis,” do not have a police endorsement.

Hmmm … I work on select campaigns. You never reprint hundreds and hundreds of signs unless you have to reprint them.

In fact, reprinting and replacing hundreds of signs that are already up would make about as much sense as claiming your opponents are exploiting your marriage difficulties in a campaign mailer that exploits your marriage difficulties and announces your pending divorce.

Whoa … Did you feel that? It must have been an aftershock.

Digg!

4 comments:

Rich on 8/8/08, 4:37 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

Allen did say she would correct the mistake as Kallas requested. I’m expecting the correction to arrive any day after Aug. 12, right after the polls close.

Anonymous said...

might be a silly question but did she think that the endorsement would be important enough to lie about having it? just seems like it is something anyone could easily check up on and find out if it was real or not. and i guess someone did. lol

Rich on 8/8/08, 10:04 PM said...

Hey Anon,

Not silly at all! :)

I think she thought it was that important because she had it last time and always made a big deal about it. But the association felt odd giving it to her after the arrest (go figure)!

But you know, people make very odd decisions when their brand begins to implode. They start trying to "not lose" what they have rather than "earn" what they desire.

You'll see this is a consistent theme in most crisis communication case studies. Fear motivates people to do very odd things. It makes more sense to be fearless in the best way than fearful in the worst, at least I think.

Still, I am sure she got a few votes before the truth came out. I can't imagine how mad those voters might be.

All the best,
Rich

Rich on 8/11/08, 9:54 AM said...

Famous Last Words:

Remember when I mentioned to never take on another opponent unless you have to? Francis Allen's soon to be ex-husband had this to say about her mailer that attacked him:

"I ask to be left alone to move on with my life as I was already doing prior to this attempted garnering of votes by her malicious defamation of my character." — Paul Maineri to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

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