Sierra Club Wants You to Help Gov. Sanford Find the Appalachian Trail


It’s a classic promotional tactic, online or off: see a story in the news, figure out a connection to your issue no matter how remote, and try to use it as a hook to get extra exposure. When the potential news angle involves a scandal, though, you’d better be careful in your approach or you’ll risk looking crass or exploitative.

This week’s example comes courtesy of the “Appalachian Trail” angle in the saga of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his Argentinian “friend,” and it’s the Sierra Club that’s making the connection, in this case via an email to their membership promoting their Sierra Club Trails website. They want to help Gov. Sanford find the Appalachian Trail, which he seems to have lost, you see, and they need our help filling in the gaps in their trail guide…nice, even a social media angle! Despite the explosiveness of the underlying scandal, Sierra’s message is actually fairly tame all around. The only harsh note comes in a postscipt, in which we’re reminded not to forget our “(moral) compass” along the way — pretty tame compared with what Jon Stewart had to say.

BTW, “hiking the Appalachian Trail” would seem destined to become a political catchphrase, no?

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