–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications

As surely as locusts mark the seventh year and swallows announce the return of Spring to Capistrano, bumper stickers herald campaign season.

Whether they support announced candidates, urge the unannounced to run, or express views on issues, bumper stickers all have one thing in common: they are brand ambassadors.

Consider the impact of a discourteous or otherwise bone-headed driving move. Most of us react negatively with a shake of the head or pursed lips (full disclosure: some of us Boston drivers are more expressive than that).

Now add in a bumper sticker or two. The negative association of the idiotic driver with the candidate, issue, position, etc., can either diminish positive perceptions or reinforce negative ones: “So that’s the kind of moron who supports [fill in the blank]…”

The dynamic works on the positive side, too—though unfortunately less often—when a courteous move draws your attention.

Think this is a stretch? Check yourself the next time something like this happens and you notice a bumper sticker.

The bottom line here is that if you’re going to proclaim your support or opposition on a bumper sticker, then you are a brand ambassador whose actions can subtly and unintentionally affect others’ perceptions of the sticker subject.

If that’s not enough to remind you to drive courteously, come take a tool around Boston. We’ll help draw it to your attention.