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battle. You want to be able to cross the finish line with your right foot glued to the floor.

On The Last Lap, Second Place Ain’t Bad

Everyone likes to be in the lead, but on the last lap being the leader means being on defense. It’s hard to drive fast when you spend all your time watch- ing the mirrors. Here, the second place car dictates the action and forces the leader to react. You can be seriously aggressive and force a last minute error, which can make all the difference. And since you fought the urge to go up on TV early, you still have the juice for a big push at the finish, right?

You Only Have To Lead At The Finish Line

You have to be ahead at the finish line and that’s it. Don’t waste resources trying to win the first half of the race. Stay with the leader and keep things close. Then, when the crowd comes back from the conces- sion stand (or the voters get interested), make your move.

Do Good In Front Of The Camera

Your candidate’s TV presentation is critical, so make sure the first time they work in front of a camera isn’t when the film is rolling and the director says, “action.” NASCAR drivers go to TV school and your clients should, too. And be realistic about the time required to get a good performance. Rule of thumb: one hour is just about enough time to do make up and get two stiff, unusable reads. Plan ac- cordingly. It doesn’t end after the TV shoot. NASCAR driv-

ers are under constant scrutiny from in-car cameras and team radio monitoring. (In the early days of in-car cameras, drivers were caught lighting up and smoking behind the wheel. Fortunately, the series sponsor was Winston.) Today, candidates deal with tracking video and cell phone cameras everywhere. Work with candidates to help them be comfortable and stay on message. Even with cameras jammed in their faces.

Never Stop Making Adjustments

It’s a long race. Keep learning and tweaking. If the situation gets really bad, pull into the pits, make a ma- jor change and get back out there. Do it early enough, and you’ll still have plenty of laps to catch up.

Avoid the “Big One”

One car spins, hits another, gathers in two more, next thing you know you’re driving into a 14-car pile up known as the “Big One.” In racing and politics, everyone knows the “Big One” is coming, but few know how to avoid it. Most choose to rely on their cat-like instincts to slip through at the last second.

March 2010 | Politics 43

These are the people who keep junkyards in busi- ness. Instead, you have to look ahead and anticipate. Know the hits are coming, have finished ads ready to go and be prepared to swerve. And maybe pass a car or two in the process.

Put Someone In The Wall

In a close race, a time may come when you have to put the other guy in the wall. On the track, it requires a deft touch. Too gentle and it doesn’t work. Too rough and you damage your own car, too. Same goes on the cam- paign trail. Be clean and firm. Have your facts straight and watch the blowback. And think of the viewer at home (who hates negative advertising) by considering non-traditional ways to deliver the message. Does it have to look like a negative political ad? There’s a well- loved and wildly effective negative campaign running right now. It starts with the words, “Hi, I’m a Mac and I’m a PC.”

Watch The Details

Check out a NASCAR driver’s look. Sponsor patches? Check. Holding the soda bottle with the logo forward? Check. Assistant to switch logo caps during the inter- view? Check. The same attention to detail is critical for your candidate. If you’re going to show him quail hunt- ing, get a real hunter to help you make sure he looks authentic. Is he using products (cars, computers, phones) from companies in the district? Does your candidate have clothes that fit? Ever seen Barney Frank’s shirt with the collar that’s way too tight? Wouldn’t cut it in victory lane.

Don’t Forget To Thank The Crew

While the candidate is celebrating the big win, we’ll be out back loading the truck, but our moms are watching. Say something nice, okay?

Vinny Minchillo is a partner and creative director for Scott Howell & Company. He’s a former stand-up comic, “Wheel of Fortune” winner, lawnmower racer, 24 Hours of LeMons racer and contributor to the best-selling “Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook.” Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
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