Of Tea Parties and Muddled Messaging


The April 15 Tax Day tea parties were a great example of grass roots, viral organization to move thousands of people (whether you believe the reported attendance or not) to do something.

But here’s the problem; what were they doing? In PR, we counsel clients to have consistent messages that leave no doubt who you are and what you stand for. Were the tea parties:

– Libertarian tax protests?
– Conservative protests against Obama?
– A stand against pork-barrel spending and government waste?
– An anti-gay marriage event?
– FOX News sponsored GOP pom-pom waving?

Depending on what you believed, the event was either a success or was muddled by a lack of central messaging.

If you fail to define yourself- or worse, define yourself badly- then others will gladly fill the void.

Were the tea parties a success? Can anyone tell?

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  1. While I agree the message was muddled, I think it’s a mistake to begin evaluating public protests the same way we evaluate advertising, PR, webinars, and presentations. There is value in coming together in public to express an opinion, not the least of which is that it shows we still live in a free society where such things are possible (as long as you have a permit, of course!)

  2. Dennis, I don;t disagree with you, but I still think this could have been more effective- and taken even more seriously than it was- with better communication.

  3. I walked through the Boston Common yesterday to investigate the Tea Party. I had absolutely no idea what was the cause, political affiliation and direction. It was a pretty chaotic unorganized mess. So confusing. Glad I was dead on :).

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