On my way to the barbershop, a guerrilla campaign caught my eye. On the ground someone wrote: “Who can you call in these states?” It was followed by a list of all the swing states for the upcoming elections and closed with the URL for the League of Independent Voters.
First, it’s a great idea, particularly in a town like New York where people do a lot of walking.
That said, here are a couple of suggestions for the folks at indyvoter.org:
First, shorten the message for better delivery. Get straight to the point, i.e., don’t list all 16 swing states on a sidewalk. Find a good copywriter who can grab attention and provide a call to action in a few very tight sentences.
Second, if the whole point is to get folks to the Web site, consider a viral e-mail strategy that gets people to forward the URL. If this is supposed to be a word-of-mouth, grassroots effort, then embrace it fully.
Third—and this is purely practical—if you are going to write on the sidewalk, make sure you’re using chalk or some kind of paint that washes away. Ask IBM about how much they paid in fines and how much bad PR they received when one of their agencies used permanent paint on the San Francisco sidewalks a few years ago. The last thing you want to do is provide ammo for anyone to say that all you’re doing is defacing public property.
What’s cool about this site is that they actually provide resources that show people how to get involved in the countries political process. This is a good example of how to market social change and an important step towards involving the over 100 million people who opted out of the last election. Russell Simmons and his Hip Hop Summit Action Network should take a page from these guys.