This weeks Idea: NDP Dog Sweaters-Auf the Wahl…

with Neil Godin

A photo. In the Province newspaper. One of the local rags here in OurTown (Vancouver, Canada). That I had to tell you about. So pull in your chair and listen up (please)…

How do you campaign when campaigning can’t be done? 

The photo is a picture of Matt Toner, a political candidate running for the New Democratic Party here in the Province of BC (where we have an election coming up in April). Problem: Matt is running in a riding rife with real estate that refuses to recognize the need for politicians to practice their politics. His Vancouver-False Creek riding consists of condo after condo after condo – after condo. All with tight security that prohibits old fashioned political door knocking.

Matt Toner and his barkin’ brigade.  Photo by The Province.

Matt Toner and his barkin’ brigade.
Photo by The Province.


So. What is a politician to do? Well. If you’re a doggedly determined campaigner like Toner, you make the papers (a lot of papers, and a lot of blogs), and the social media circuit, by handing out little orange dog jackets – emblazoned with his name and the NDP logo – everywhere that dogs (and their owners) can be found. Brilliant.

Your call to action:

I had to share this story with you because I just got off the phone with a client who talked about all the reasons why we “ couldn’t” pull off a marketing stunt that we’ve been planning for her business (I call this “the cold feet syndrome” BTW – that frightening wave of fear that comes over a business owner when we’re about to break local signage bylaws, or market the business dangerously in some other way. In this case, we were able to get back on track after I reminded her that there are “always” ways to get around “every” obstacle – in this case, by conducting a guerrilla marketing signage campaign only on weekends – when city hall staff aren’t working.

Back to Matt Toner. His creative thinking illustrates my principle perfectly. But now the question: Has his campaign gone to the dogs? (Ouch!) Or. Is he barking up the right tree? (Wince!) Well, we’ll see what happens in April. Meanwhile. I’ll see you next week – if you can forgive these unforgivable puns (I don’t know if I can).

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