A Few Stories
When 76 Words was hired by Minnesotans United for All Families—the campaign to defeat an Amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution that would have put a permanent ban on the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples—we were well-prepared for the moment.
We’d been working on marriage equality for more than a decade, including helping the Human Rights Campaign handle their response to the Goodridge decision in 2004. And more recently we’d helped national groups Third Way and Freedom to Marry prepare responses to the anti-gay attack that had proven so tragically successful during the Proposition 8 fight.
Vermont Gov Shumlin
In 2010, we helped Peter Shumlin win one of the few Democratic Gubernatorial pick-ups in the nation.
To do it, Shumlin first had to negotiate a crowded primary field. He faced four other Democrats, each with an electoral and financial base, and each with a roughly equal record of progressive accomplishment.
With little daylight to work with on issues, we helped Shumlin stand out by building a clearer and more decisive brand.
Pretty much no one thought that Minnesota’s Voter ID initiative could be beaten. Initial polling showed the issue at around 80% support.
The messaging was thought to be difficult, to say, the least—what could be simpler and more obvious than requiring someone to show an ID to vote? And Minnesota’s progressive energy (and money) was all focused instead on the higher-profile marriage equality fight. As “Our Vote Our Future” board member Javier Morillo later told The American Prospect, “There was a general sense that this was not a winnable fight.”
House Republicans declared a war on Planned Parenthood, and with it on women’s health care.
We helped lead the effort to fight back.
We crafted messaging that focused on demystifying what Planned Parenthood does everyday while separating the controversial issue of abortion from the popular topic of health care and prevention. We worked with the government relations team to focus in on key targets. Then we aired dozens of TV and radio ads telling women’s personal Planned Parenthood stories aired across the country and in Washington DC.
The United Nations Foundation was kicking off a new program: Girl Up, designed to take on the specific challenges facing teen and pre-teen girls in the Global South.
Teenage girls have largely been neglected as a target of international development efforts. And non-profits had barely even begun to educate donors and opinion leaders just how important it is to meet the needs of these girls. Fact is, investing in girls is one of the best ways to improve the whole of society.
But there was no real history of how to make that point, and tell that story.