So how did Kwame Kilpatrick come up with the campaign slogan RIGHT HERE – RIGHT NOW which helped catapult him into political history as the youngest mayor of Detroit? Kwame entered into the mayor campaign late. In fact, he was the last candidate to enter the race.
Kilpatrick and his team knew they needed to grab the public’s attention. Kwame knew he needed a slogan that would subtly address the issue of his young age (30 years) and that would infuse enough energy into his campaign. Also, Kwame needed a slogan or message that would answer the repeated question of his detractors “Why don’t you wait four to eight years to run for office?” The Kwame Kilpatrick election team engaged in extensive and healthy debate as to the best slogan for the campaign and, once chosen, how to integrate it into a speech; after a few weeks the team decided on RIGHT HERE – RIGHT NOW. It was truly a collaborative effort. The slogan was put on all of the campaign literature, signs and t-shirts.
Before his announcement speech, which incorporated the much debated slogan, all the campaign memorabilia was organized and methodically handed out. People attending his mayoral race announcement speech already knew the slogan. It became a matter of effective public speaking on Kwame Kilpatrick’s part that helped make the slogan such a resounding success.
The saga of the RIGHT HERE – RIGHT NOW slogan proved that political slogans are often well debated and well rehearsed long before the slogans ever reach the public. Political slogans are not ‘off the cuff’ phrases. They are methodical and strategic.
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