You can’t escape democracy.
At least that’s what city officials are hoping to impress on residents of voting age with a new advertising campaign.
With the voter turnout a dismal 37 per cent in the last municipal vote in 2007, the city has added some new wrinkles to its advertising campaign for the 2010 election.
This campaign has posters in bathrooms in three local pubs. The Vote 2010 logo is also on dividing bars at local grocery checkouts. And an illuminated projection will cover the south face of the St. Albert Inn Friday evening from 6 to 11 p.m.
“We’re definitely trying to take a more creative approach,” said Jillian Baird, the city’s communications advisor who headed up the advertising campaign.
People are exposed to so many advertising messages that city officials are trying anything they can think of to break through the clutter, even if it means advertising over a urinal.
“If you can get their undivided attention for 30 seconds, you do it,” said Mike Kluttig, the city’s director of corporate communications.
Communications staff first sat down about a year ago to share ideas for the vote campaign, Baird said. They came up with the phrase “Your City, Your Say.”
“What we want them to do is recognize that when you cast your vote, you’re indirectly sending a message about the kind of community you want to see,” Baird said.
These creative wrinkles are being used in conjunction with more traditional advertising like newspaper ads and billboards, Baird said.
“I think what this campaign is going to accomplish is you can’t get away from the election. It is everywhere,” Baird said. “We’re hoping that helps us to effectively reach all of the different demographics here in St. Albert.”
The city will spend between $10,000 and $15,000 on this advertising campaign, Baird said.
The city is also posting two video features to its election website, which itself was beefed up substantially for the election. This week the site will make available two Shaw cable productions: a pair of interviews with the St. Albert mayoral candidates and the first candidates’ forum that was held at the Arden Theatre Sept. 28.
The city is also trying to provide as many voting opportunities as possible, by scheduling five advance polling dates, said returning officer Chris Belke. The first advance poll, held on Thursday, attracted fewer than 150 voters, while 100 people came out Saturday, he said.
A third advance poll was scheduled for Tuesday from to 5 to 9 p.m. The last two are Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., both at St. Albert Place.
Voting day is Oct. 18.