Don’t Copy this Al Gore Email

The message below came in recently from an alert reader, who received it from Al Gore/Repower America and passed it along because she thought it was a great example of how to really lay it on too thick in a mass email. The online tool itself that Al’s promoting? Neat all around — it collects video clips from people across the country and displays them through a cool Flash interface that lets you scan around remarkably easily. A little slow to load, but an impressive visual experience with a great social media angle.

Unfortunately, the email is so over-the-top (and reeeally long) that it dilutes the tech-cool aspect of the whole idea. This one should serve as a lesson on how to aim for sincere but hit a little closer to ridiculous, and to use a whole lot of words in the process.

Dear Repower America Member,

When a clean energy economy finally becomes a reality in America, people will look back to the day that together, you and I launched The Repower America Wall.

The Wall is a place where literally thousands and thousands of people committed to a revolutionary new energy future for our nation and the world are coming together — to express our hopes, share our resolve, and step up to a leadership role in building a grassroots movement for change like nothing America has ever seen. It’s an opportunity for you to be part of the climate movement in a new way, in a way that takes us beyond ourselves.

By asking people from all over the country to share their thoughts and images on the Wall, we are fueling a campaign that brings together the power of national media with the strength and connection of on-the-ground organizing in a way that no one has ever done before. Your voice, and the voices of your friends, neighbors and colleagues, will become the language of our campaign on TV, in print, on billboards, online, and in brand new ways that you will help us invent as we create the Wall.

We know that the political will to transition America to a clean energy economy already exists. You are part of it. But now we must make sure our leaders know it too. The Wall will become our collective voice and thus transform the debate into action.

It’s an ambitious strategy — and it has to be.

Nothing short of every one of us joined together is needed to overcome the resistance of the powerful special interests blocking our path to a clean energy future, settling for the dangerous status quo.

But the time for politics is over. We have the power to force change in America.

Together, you and I will use the Wall as the foundation for all of our activism in the days and weeks ahead.

But first, I need you to meet me at the Wall.

Share your voice on The Repower America Wall right now.

The Wall is a revolutionary approach to standing up for what we believe in — for what our country needs. It combines the power of your voice with the force of a multi-media campaign, to build a collective call for change so loud it’s undeniable.

The messages you and many thousands of others leave at the Wall are the tidal wave that will break on Washington, and put us on the path to victory.

Our grassroots organizers in the states will use the Wall — your Wall — as proof that all of our friends and neighbors are as committed to clean energy as we are — that we are joined together in this commitment.

Content shared on the Wall will be used to create ads and other forms of communication that will go directly to your elected officials so that everywhere they look they will see the very people they represent, their constituents, calling for action now on clean energy — in the local newspaper, on television, on billboards, on the radio, and on important local and national websites. There will be no place to hide. The Wall will be everywhere.

When our opponents throw roadblocks in our way, we’ll gather at the Wall to fight back.

And when key decisions are at hand, we’ll light up the Wall to let politicians who side with powerful interests against clean energy do so at their own peril.

The time to demand a clean energy future for America is now. But we must stand together. Unless we do everything in our power to make our voices heard, the change we seek will not happen.

Stand up and be a part of the generation that makes future generations proud — join the movement and share your voice on The Repower America Wall today.

This is just the beginning. Next week we will take this campaign to the airwaves with new Repower America national television ads featuring real messages from the Wall. By acting now to share your own personal message on the Repower America Wall, you can insure that you were there at the start.

What you and I do today will determine everything about our country’s future and the world our children will inherit. The time for action is right now and the cause deserves your best efforts.

If you want to win and insure our clean energy future, I’ll see you at the Wall.

Together we can make this happen.

Thank you,

Al Gore

Sorry to pick on you Al, ’cause I think you do good work, but next time tone it down a notch or two, cut out a few paragraphs and we’ll all be a lot safer out there.


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • The Wall really sounds ominous. Firewall, Berlin Wall, Pink Floyd – walls generally are considered negative things so this is a really stupid metaphor to use.

    Also, the language of this email is very Orwellian, almost like a mandatory hate session. The Wall sounds scary and all-controlling. Intimidating – the Wall knows all about you. You drive an SUV, don’t you?

    “Our grassroots organizers in the states will use the Wall — your Wall — as proof that all of our friends and neighbors are as committed to clean energy as we are”

    “There will be no place to hide. The Wall will be everywhere.”

    This will be mocked ruthlessly on talk radio and deservedly so. Way to divide people, enviros. How about a positive campaign rather than trying to scare or intimidate people?

    And I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this but, “Mr. Gore, tear down this Wall!”

  • The email is certainly bad because it’s incredibly verbose. But just copying in the text doesn’t tell the whole story, as many readers will see the HTML version.

    No one reads every single word of an advocacy email, but when first reading that, I was able to get the gist immediately: There’s this thing called the Wall. It’s a place to share our thoughts. Seeing what text is linked also helps. I would have liked to see the linked text in its own paragraph, though.

    The biggest mistake the email makes is that it sticks the graphic in the middle of a very long message, rather than at the top. It’s been empirically proven that people love clicking on friendly looking images. And getting clicks are the whole point of sending advocacy email.

    Also, disagreeing with Joe Flood, I don’t think “The Wall” is all that ominous, but that may be due to generation factors. When I think of the Wall, I immediately think of a Facebook Wall: A place to share things with your friends. I’m pretty sure that’s what the Repower America folks intended.