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.