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Chris Rose

'Advanced' tips - if you've been campaigning: The scandal equation

Advanced tips:

Testing a strategy

 The scandal equation

Are you being co-opted?
Does your campaign rely on a sense of scandal or outrage?

Often this is the case - or the campaigners think it ought to be.

American public affairs adviser Peter Sandman sells businesses his own 'outrage' analysis to help them defend themselves against environmentalists and others. Here is my version (which of course I think is better) - the scandal equation.

the scandal equation

If your campaign 'isn't working' consider changing your focus. Which parts of this equation can you change best?

Note that scandal is not just composed of awfulness. This is the thing journalists and the press usually focus on. 'Just how bad is it ?' they ask as they try to turn a disaster into a more newsworthy claim of 'catastrophe'. Campaigners who are seduced into that game are asking for trouble. But by showing convincingly that the problem is getting worse, you can increase the sense of scandal.

On its own though, an awful problem can be a tragedy but not a scandal. To be a scandal it has to be avoidable. This is the component which campaigners more often overlook. It has two parts - what can be done about it, and what is being done about it. The more that could be done, and the less that actually is being done, the greater the scandal. If nothing can be done, or if everything possible is being done, it's not a scandal at all.

Lastly, 'immoral profit made from it' is a compounding factor. If someone is making a profit from a terrible problem - such as knocking holes in the ozone layer - that makes the scandal a whole lot worse.