Essentially, Rudd’s “Kevin ‘07” marketing campaign used mainstream media as a call for change. Howard’s camp chose to focus on negative ads against Kevin Rudd, completely ignoring Howard’s accomplishments as Prime Minister. Rudd won the election handily.
Meg Whitman’s failed campaign for governor had similar problems. As you may recall, she ran negative ads against each opponent - first Steve Poizner, then Jerry Brown. She also spent millions funding her campaign, whereas Brown didn’t start running ads until late in the game for financial reasons. You know what happened next.
In both cases. subliminal marketing was at work. People in Australia were inundated with media relating to Kevin Rudd. People in California heard Jerry Brown’s name and saw his face months before he had the money to start his own campaign. As a result, Rudd and Brown won handily.
I think you can apply the same concept to legal writing. For example, a criminal defense attorney wants to argue that John Smith is actually the one who beat up Vinnie Victim, and that her client was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a 995 motion, she would say things like “John Smith punched Victim in the nose,” and “John Smith was the aggressor,” to emphasize Smith’s culpability.
However, she wants to avoid using her own client’s name as much as possible, or use passive voice when mentioning her client (i.e. “My client was arrested along with several others.”). As your high school English teacher emphasized, passive voice weakens the argument
Using these techniques, John Smith should stick out much more in the reader’s mind, making your argument all the more persuasive.
What do you think? Have you tried these techniques?
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