CASE STUDY: Citizens for Akron

SITUATION: A small group of individuals had managed to take advantage of a loophole in the city charter that required a very small percentage of registered voter signatures to initiate a Recall Election. for the Mayor of Akron. Though the Mayor had been judged by most to be highly effective, and had just won re-election to office less than two years before, the campaign committee - Citizens for Akron - left nothing to chance. It was decided that a wide range of media would be utilized to reinforce the Mayor's positive achievements, and that new media would play an important role in demonstrating the community's support.

SOLUTION: While a Citizens for Akron website had been set up for the anti-recall campaign, Schweitzer Communications was retained to supplement this site with a special Spotlight Media Center, which featured a collection of videos in which civic and business leaders, citizens and other individuals provided on-camera comments in support of the Mayor and his leadership. The video comments and testimonials were shot in a number of locations throughout the city of Akron, and required a very quick turn-around, since they were normally posted on the same day they were videotaped. This was perfectly in line with our objectives, since the overall video quality was intended to look more "grass-roots' in terms of quality. We definitely did not want a "too-slick" production value to detract from what we saw as a populist message: that the Mayor was dong a great job, and that the pro-recall group was indulging its own private grudge at significant taxpayer expense.

The result? Over 18 video interviews and events were videotaped and posted on the site over a two-month period; while the local news media did attend some of the sessions to ask questions themselves, they also linked to the videos and pulled comments from the videos as well. In the end, Akron citizens overwhelmingly supported the Mayor, with 75% of the voters casting ballots against the recall effort.

No comments: