In honor of Sunday’s return of one of our favorite shows, Mad Men, we dusted off our typewriters and put together some of our favorite old school campaign rules that still work for organizing and outreach, even in an online world.

Make it personal. Don Draper didn’t really care about slide projectors, but he sold the crap out of them by making it all about the memories they preserve. Think about the advertisements, news articles, or email appeals you actually remember (even after a few scotch and sodas). Chances are, they focused on someone’s personal story. Move people to action using examples from your own experience, or that of your advocates or the communities you’re serving. Feeling intimidated? Lucky for you, we wrote a whole post and two whitepapers on this stuff!

Don Draper time machine
(Damn, I am hammered but I am totally killing this presentation…)

Take Risks. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to take big swings. Finally approach that reporter you’ve been wanting to cover your issue. Change up the tone of an email appeal. Test a new tactic on your landing page. Sometimes the biggest risks can yield the biggest rewards for your organization.

Peggy Olson Marijuana
(No, not that kind of experimenting…unless you live in Colorado)

Repetition, repetition, repetition. When it comes to your brand, message repetition is key. Bang your head against the wall or your desk (ever so gingerly, like Peggy) until it comes out naturally. Make sure that all of your spokespeople are on message, and that they repeat it often in conversations with stakeholders, the press, or potential allies.

Peggy Olson Head Banging

Be a straight shooter. It’s not only OK to ask for what you want, it’s kind of the only thing that matters. Don’t beat around the bush in your pitch to reporters or email appeal to supporters. Provide just enough context to draw people in, then make the ask. And don’t confuse things with multiple asks either.

Betty Shot Gun
(I’m gonna get that low dollar donation…whether you like it or not)

A little humor goes a long way. Even if your issue is a serious one, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find opportunities to insert a lighthearted, relatable tone into your messaging, whether it’s on social media, or in an email. Just remember to apply sparingly…

Pete Campbell Secor Laxatives Pete Campbell I have to Talk to These People Pete Campbell Absolutely No Sense of Humor About Their Product

Don’t be afraid to ‘schmooze’. A 4 hour booze-soaked lunch may not be an advisable idea for most of us, but there’s huge value to be had in meeting contacts in person. Invite a reporter to grab coffee or a drink with you in a casual setting to talk about the projects you have on the horizon. Sometimes removing the pressure of “the pitch” is enough to open up the conversation.

Don and Roger
(It’s 10 am, cheers!)

Manners matter. If you’ve ever sent someone a gift and received nothing but radio silence in return, you know how important a simple thank you can be. If a reporter you’ve been working with writes a great piece, send them a short note saying thanks and that you’re looking forward to staying in touch. Manage to mobilize a legislator to take action on your issue? Send them an appreciative message on Facebook and Twitter, and encourage supporters to do the same. Or did your supporters just raise a million dollars? Then let them know you’re grateful and remind them what their donation is doing.

thank you
(No, thank YOU.)

Knowledge is power. Somehow even Don finds time in his heavy binge-drinking sched to catch up on his reading. Try to take a bit of time each day to read up on what’s going on in the world, whether it be news, design blogs, McSweeney’s, whatever strikes your fancy. Stay abreast of as many sources as you can, and read about as many people/places/things as you can…even (and especially) the competition. Being aware and inspired is what makes good campaigns great.

don beach read
(Beach reads: ur doin it wrong.)

Oh yeah, and finally: Advertising. We’d be remiss not to mention a little something called ads. They’re still relevant…chances are, you’re just going to be dealing with them on the internet for the most part. Here are some tips on how to maximize that Google grant and 5 tips for making killer Facebook ads.

Congratulations, you’re an expert!

joan clapping
(I hate that tie but still, great job!)

Now go have an Old Fashioned.