Things have been so crazy around the office over the last couple of months that we haven’t had a chance to share with you an awesome project we got to work on with the City of Vicksburg in Mississippi.
So, it all started when we submitted a proposal for a bid with the City of Vicksburg back in February. A couple weeks later, the City invited our team to a meeting to discuss our proposal. So, we took a road trip up to Vicksburg (can you say close quarters?).
When mid-March rolled around after a lot of research and negotiation, we heard from the City that we won the bid. Needless to say, there was no small level of excitement from the team and maybe a little screaming coming from the back office.
The gist of the project was that the City of Vicksburg needed help developing a marketing campaign to pass a tax. The revenue from this new tax would fund the development of a multipurpose sports complex, which would include baseball fields, soccer fields, walking trails, softball fields and, eventually, much more. The referendum would levy a two percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants in the Vicksburg area.
Our goal was to get the vote out and garner support for the tax.
To accomplish this, the City asked for a single campaign that utilized two separate, yet cohesive, messages. One would focus on delivering an emotionally-driven message that would move voters to vote in favor of the tax. The other message would focus on facts and information to educate the public about just what the tax was and why they should vote for it.
So, we had several meetings with our partners in Vicksburg to talk about their ideas for the campaign. Then, we made ourselves very familiar with the referendum and all it constituted. Finally, we brushed up a little on our Vicksburg history—a little extra knowledge can go a long way.
Our primary target audience was anyone eligible to vote in Vicksburg’s June 6, 2017, election with a secondary audience of individuals under 18 because they could pass the message along to voters.
There was a lot of negative perception and feedback over the complex and the tax going in so we had a few hurdles to jump.
Out team sat down for a group brainstorming session (hands-down the best days in the office) and listed out all the benefits of the sports complex, along with any words associated with it. We also had to keep in mind that the campaign had a very short flight (or run), and we were on a time crunch. So, we had to find one tagline that would fit both the emotional and informational messages.
Ultimately, we came up with about three or four different ideas that we liked, but there was one that stuck out—“Yes to.”
We wanted to create something that evoked positivity, health and fun while educating the public about the tax—a two birds with one stone situation if you will. Our emotional appeal aimed to tap into the nostalgia of childhood and the importance of the community’s youth while the informational message stuck to brief information that was easy to understand. We wanted to completely avoid the confusing legal jargon that tends to frustrate all of us when we go to the polls.
The campaign had to show the people of Vicksburg that saying yes didn’t just mean saying yes to another tax. It meant saying yes to memories, adventure, jobs and economic development—to the future of Vicksburg and all the possibilities and opportunities this new sports complex could represent for the community and families of the city.
After a little bit of quickstepping to follow some last-minute legal guidelines, we instituted a full-launch of the campaign, which focused heavily on grassroots efforts.
We spent several hours nervously checking our phones the night of the election but in the end…VICTORY!!!!!
The referendum passed with 63.08 percent of the vote.
Aside from helping the City pass their tax, there were a couple other project benefits worth mentioning.
Team bonding via three-hour road trip in a small SUV (sardines à la Octagon)
Trying the local cuisine in a nationally-acclaimed, 137-year-old house-turned-restaurant
Making some great, new friends and connections
Vote: 63.08% in favor
Total Rating Points (TRP’s): 388.9