If it’s a “grass roots” campaign, can the top executive be the one starting it? Not traditionally, says longtime public affairs and communications consultant Thom Serafin. Serafin says “grass roots” is supposed to be from the ground up. Gov. Pat Quinn (pictured) Sunday announced his “This Is My Illinois” campaign to call attention to the state’s pension crisis. What’s missing so far, Serafin says, is any solution.
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“The grass roots campaigns, historically, are not necessarily designed to answer questions. They’re designed to motivate answers to the questions to be developed,” says the Chicago-based Serafin. “The grass roots campaign is a tool that the governor’s using to get attention to the issue and to get those individuals that don’t necessarily listen to public affairs information or (who are) not plugged into the news stories to listen,” he said.
Serafin says while the campaign is already being mocked for, among other things, its use of a cartoon snake called “Squeezy the Pension Python,” it’s working in one way: it gets people talking about state pensions, all the way up to national TV morning shows.