As anyone who has been following Test PAC’s campaign to oust Texas Congressman Lamar Smith will tell you, trudging through the swamp of American politics is no easy task. Since our conception earlier this year, Test PAC has been dedicated to operating on behalf of its members and taking every precaution to inform our body, discuss possible strategies, and implement a plan based on the common sentiments of the group.
Last week, Test PAC held a vote to choose a billboard design concept to run in San Antonio. The winning concept (shown below) was then modified slightly and sent off to the advertising company. With the proper paperwork filled out, contracts signed, and payments made, Test PAC would officially have our very own billboard up by days end. Easy, right?
Original billbord concept.
Upon receiving the initial billboard design, the general manager of the advertisement company rejected it due to their “policy against negative advertising. We also can’t verify if it’s true or not.” This unfortunate bit of news prompted Test PAC’s executive officers to sit down and discuss a new plan of attack. How could we run a “defeat Lamar Smith” advertisement, a campaign that is inherently deemed as “negative”, in a positive way?
Visual approximation of advertisement company manager.
We began thinking about the other candidates running in the congressional primaries, Sheriff Richard Mack and Richard Morgan. Due to the fact that our membership did not want to explicitly endorse either candidate, Test PAC made it clear throughout its campaign that it would not become a political arm for either Morgan or Mack. With no candidate to officially back and no means of negatively attacking Lamar, we needed to think of a clever way to get our point across in a supportive manner while still staying true to our original goal.
Then it hit us: “Richard M.”
Playing off of the fact that both candidates are named “Richard” with surnames beginning with the letter “M”, we brainstormed various ways to incorporate both candidates while simultaneously focusing attention on Lamar Smith’s horrible legislative track record. Our final product captures all of this.
Amended and approved billboard concept.
The billboard is representative of many things. Firstly, it plays directly to the idea of censorship while still allowing for the ambiguity of the opposing candidate in which we refer to.
Secondly, the covering of the surname creates a bit of intrigue for someone viewing it. Why would the candidate hide his own name? I must investigate further..
Lastly, the displaying of unseatlamar.com allows for the viewer to discover more information about what exactly is going on, which then directs them to more information about the corrosive nature of Lamar Smith’s sponsored legislation.
How I feel after writing that analysis.
I am confident that our new design, while a compromise of our original concept, will have a resonating effect both locally and nationally. Our goal is not the exclusive education of Texas voters on Lamar Smith’s negligent history of legislation effecting digital rights. Rather, the billboard serves as a microcosm for the growing frustration felt by the average American towards the federal government and its attempts to hinder freedom and expression in the digital age.
- Jeromie Whalen, Test PAC Chairman
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