Back in 2009 I got an e-mail that made me very happy then very sad. The e-mail, from Michael Ignatieff, told me that I could get a Liberal branded scarf. Unfortunately, to get the scarf I would have to donate $100. Now, I can’t afford a $100 donation so to this day I don’t have a Liberal scarf.
Since the 2011 election, there has been a lot of talk about the “Liberal brand” but unlike the Conservative party we don’t treat said “brand” seriously enough to take advantage of the merchandising opportunities the 144 years of Liberal Party history has to offer. The Conservative Party of Canada has an online shop, the Liberal Party does not. This is a missed fundraising and brand-building activity for the Liberal Party.
Last night “The Edward Blake Society” held a meet-and-greet with the LPC Presidential candidates. Four of the five candidates attended (you can read my live-tweeting here) and I asked them all about Liberal Merchandise (or #LibSwag or #LPCMerch if you are going to tweet about it.) Thankfully all four presidential candidates endorsed the idea of having LPC merchandise sold online! Here is a summary of our conversations:
Ron Hartling: He said that Liberal branded clothing and accessories should be part of a holistic community outreach approach. One of the first things he did when he became President of the Kingston and the Islands riding association was to order Liberal t-shirts.
Sheila Copps: The former Deputy PM responded to me on twitter saying “I hear that’s in the works for convention, but it is a project I definitely intend to continue! ” During the second debate I attended, Mrs. Copps called for Liberal support packages to be available immediately to each riding association.
Alexandra Mendes: She talked about the variety of merch that will be available at the upcoming Liberal Convention in Ottawa. She also added that it is a no-brainer to have an online Liberal store. This event was my first time meeting Mrs. Mendes in person; she was delightful and insightful.
Mike Crawley: He was emphatically supportive of the idea but stressed that along with t-shirts (which are standard) the items for sale need to be fun and attention grabbing (Mr. Crawley is one of the most enthusiastic people I have met in real life.)
It makes me happy that we have unanimity amongst the Liberal Presidential candidates. This may seem like a small issue but it is the little things that often get ignored, and victory is in the details.
– An article for everyone to read: Obama 2012 Campaign Offers Wide Array Of Swag.
– Some discussion has taken place on twitter and some of the Liberal-Party-Rebuilding facebook groups. Shelia Copps’ proposal of Liberal-promotional kids being sent to each riding association is getting a good reaction. My vision for Liberal merchandise is to have general party brand building and anti-CPC/NDP stuff online and they to have each riding association establish a relationship with local producers to make sure that all 308 ridings have access to less-expensive swagg.
– Please feel free to comment on this post. Some questions to get the ball rolling: What kind of Liberal t-shirt would you like to see? What kind of “outside of the box” merchandise would you like to see?
At the 2012 liberal biennial convention I met a woman in one of the “Resilience of the Liberal Ideal sessions who was selling “I am a Liberal. Ask me why” buttons. I purchased on and it is proudly fastened to my messenger bag. Since the convention that button has inspired 4 separate conversations. I talked to a woman on the train to Toronto, a man on the subway, and a group of high school students at the Whitby Public Library. Each of these conversations was different but that all began with a person looking at the button and then cautiously asking me, “So, why are you a Liberal?” Since I bring my bag with me almost everywhere I go, I look forward to more of these conversations. The buttons/t-shirts/thunder sticks/tote bags at the convention were really great but the Liberal Party really needs to make those items avaliable online.