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Anansi puts Rob Ford on a streetcar

When House of Anansi Press was strategizing its marketing campaign for The Little Book of Rob Ford, a collection of quips, quotes, and colourful comments from Toronto’s mayor, it took a more subtle approach than NOW Magazine‘s controversial nudie cover. They put Ford on the side of a streetcar.

Anansi’s director of publicity Laura Repas says the idea originated with one of Ford’s own quotes: If you get stuck behind a streetcar you’re stuck! Enough with the streetcars! Originally Anansi wanted to do a vinyl advertising wrap that would cover the entire car, but with a price tag of more than $20,000, the bold idea was cost-prohibitive. Repas says that poster ad on the side of the TTC streetcar was an amazing deal, especially considering the happy accident timing of Ford’s new transit plan announced on Thursday.

The book, conceived a day after Ford was elected and released on Feb. 16, does not have a huge marketing budget outside of the streetcar ad, which runs on the Queen Street line: It goes by City Hall and it’s such a great, long route, says Repas. Anansi also organized direct outreach to unconventional bookretailers like bike stores and edgy, fun giftshops, and set up a Tumblr page to promote the book. Anansi’s Twitter and Facebook followers are encouraged to send in their photos of the TTC ad for a chance to win a package of spring 2011 titles.