Who's for Kids and Who's Just Kidding in Florida

Roy Miller
February 11, 1999

Florida's gradual transformation in political resolve—from a state that hasn't paid enough attention to its children to a state trying in earnest to reduce the huge debt amassed from years of neglecting their needs—did not come about by accident. Rather, it's the result of a multi-year, strategically planned campaign using materials and ideas created jointly by the Coalition for America's Children, the Benton Foundation, and the Florida Children's Campaign.

At the heart of the Florida Children's Campaign is the Coalition slogan, "Who's for Kids and Who's Just Kidding," one of the most powerful political statements coined in years. The slogan is especially effective when used in the context of a well orchestrated children's campaign, patterned after real-life candidate campaigns, with selective audience targeting, message development, and grassroots strategies.

When coupled with issues of real concern to voters, the slogan creates a startling contrast between those who only say that children's needs are important and those who are actively working to put children first on the political priority list. We like to say in Florida that "candidates should no longer feel free to kiss babies on the campaign trail and forget about them after election day." Use of the slogan helps separate the contenders from the pretenders.

This clear-cut delineation is important because partisan party politics is a game of sharp contrasts. Political parties strive constantly to put themselves on one side of an issue and their opponents on the other.

Real-life issues are never that clear-cut, but political campaigns make them appear to be. That's why the "Who's for Kids and Who's Just Kidding" slogan works—it gives non-partisan children's campaigns a powerful tool to level the playing field when it comes to public perception.


Roy Miller serves as Campaign Director of Florida's Children's Campaign.