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I'd like your help planning the next phase of our campaign against Ford

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While the gay groups meet with Ford on Monday, I want to meet with you.

At this point, I've not been invited to the meeting with Ford. I asked to attend, and have yet to hear back. Until I hear otherwise, I'm continuing to prepare Phase 2 of the campaign against Ford, which I'd like to launch shortly. To do that, I need your help and collective brainpower.

As we already know, Phase 1 of the campaign has been a success. In less than a week, Ford's renewed foray into bigotry has exploded in its face. The print and on-air media have covered the story of how Ford is pulling its gay advertising and ceasing its support for gay events, because of pressure from an extremist gay-hating organization that uses the "research" of known hate groups to demonize gays in a way that even the Southern Poverty Law Center has said "echoes Nazi Germany." The gay community and our allies are aware of this betrayal, and they're angrier than they've been in years.

Phase 1 has been a success. We got our message out there, got the media interested, shocked Ford will the magnitude of our anger (and our reach), and now they're doing damage control, big time.

For Phase 2 I want to up the ante.

I'm thinking of what Colin Powell said about the Iraqi Army during the first Gulf War: "First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it." Our goal is quite simply to inflict maximum pain on Ford in as short a time period as possible in order to force their quick capitulation. Unlike our illustrious president, I do not believe in declaring war by slowly increasing the level of pain over a period of months or years. I, like Colin Powell, believe in attacking the enemy with overwhelming force from the beginning, and never letting go until we've won. In other words, they won't know what hit them, and by the time they do, it will be too late.

That's not to say I'm opposed to a long drawn out campaign - remember it took a year for us to take down Dr. Laura, and we did. All I'm saying is that you don't dribble your strategies out slowly, you give 'em all you've got from day one.

With that in mind, I'd like your advice as to what comes next.

I had a long meeting today with "Joe in DC" and "Rob in Baltimore." We also conferenced in one of our co-founders, grassroots goddess extraordinaire Robin Tyler. Robin is the one who with virtually no budget (we're talking perhaps a few thousand bucks, max) coordinated simultaneous protests in 34 US and Canadian cities, yes, all on the same day. We've prepared a detailed outline of multiple simultaneous attacks that can be launched quickly and devastatingly. But I wanted a chance to get more ideas from you guys to fill in the strategy.

Overall, we think there are at least three sides to Phase 2 of the campaign:

1. Paid Media
2. Grassroots
3. Viral
1. Paid Media

Paid media means buying ads. My questions for you would include where to buy the ads, what publications and what cities, what the message of the ads that will most influence Ford (or our other audiences), and what the goal(s) of the ads is/are. Who is the target audience for the ads, and why? Is it a gay audience, a straight audience, Ford's financiers in New York City, Washington politicos who are being asked to bail Ford out, Ford's competitors, Europeans and Australians, all of the above? Are the ads timed with any specific event like, oh, say the 2006 International Auto Show in Detroit come mid-January? Should we run ads abroad?

2. Grassroots

Meaning, protests, leafleting, etc. Where, what and when. Again, who's the target audience and what's the goal of the protests? Can you come up with some original protest ideas that would wow the media and help guarantee coverage of our story while at the same time inflicting maximal damage on Ford? What unique kind of protest actions can we come up - for example, the Salvation Army protests drop a piece of paper in their buckets saying you would have donated if they weren't such bigots. Is there any clever idea like that we could do with Ford? Do we protest at the auto show, if so when and how, in what manner, with what messages? What about getting a group of folks together who recently bought Fords and holding a press event where you try to return them to Ford? The Superbowl is at Ford Field in Detroit on February 5, is there any way to take advantage of that? The Academy Awards are coming up on March 5, should we use our friends there to send a message to one billion people watching around the world (we've done it before)?

3. Viral

Viral means, well, coming up with ideas that will sail across the Internet for free. Examples: Creating our own video spoofs of Ford's ads; creating a Michael Moore style video of someone trying to return their Ford car. Imagine following him with a hand-held camera for his trip to demand they take the Jag back.

And finally, what else? What other ideas are we missing? For example, targeting Ford's Board of Directors? How should we do that? Targeting Hollywood - someone suggested we ask our friends in Hollywood to never again feature a Ford car in any of their films. College recruiting - have people protest Ford whenever their recruiters appear on college campuses. What other unique ways can we get media attention and put pressure on Ford at the same time?

The sky is really the limit here. We've got a regular reader base of around 100,000 people a day on this blog, and add to that my database of gay activists around the country and world, our contacts around the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and beyond, the readers of the other top blogs who would surely help us out on this campaign, and that doesn't even factor in the assistance the top gay groups could offer as a part of this campaign.

The only thing we're missing is your genius input.

Let's make Ford suffer even more than Paramount when they hired Dr. Laura, even more than Microsoft when it stopped supporting gay civil rights, and even more than America Online when it outed a gay sailor. In each and every case our opponent never knew what hit them, and we won.

Let's make this campaign one of our best ever.

PS I'll be posting again about this in the morning, and linking to this post, so don't worry about people not seeing it in the morning.

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