No Ford Nation launches fake candidate campaign

With a faux candidate who boasts he doesn't get caught on camera urinating in public, the group takes aim at the Toronto mayor's misdeeds.

With Toronto’s mayoral race just kicking off, an anti-Rob Ford group made its presence felt yesterday with a guerrilla marketing campaign mocking the city’s incumbent leader.

The group is No Ford Nation, an organization with a mission statement of ensuring the city gets a different mayor. Toronto-based Rethink’s Aaron Starkman, partner and CD, and Mark Scott, ACD, wrote the campaign, which includes fake campaign placards and animated video to highlight the “unbelievable” nature of the mayor’s behaviour.

The signs present three fake candidates promising to do things that parody Ford: there’s Jim Tomkins, who boasts that when he urinates in public, he doesn’t get caught on camera; Ray Faranzi, whose poster promises if he’s elected, he will just get publicly drunk rather than also threatening to kill people and Jeff McElroy, who promises to just smoke pot, not crack, if elected.

“The stuff you here in the news, it’s almost truly unbelievable,” Starkman says. “That was the notion behind the poster campaign.

“Even if you say something 10% less controversial and put it out there, it is amazing how people have the reaction of ‘wow, I can’t believe this guy is less controversial [than the current mayor],’” he adds.

Meanwhile, the animated, Family Guy-esque cartoons by Crush, with audio by RMW, use real audio from Ford interviews to portray him as a “cartoon character.” The videos live on the group’s website.

Starkman says the agency did not push the campaign out to media but it took off organically after people began snapping photos of the placards, which included the group’s website. He stresses that Rethink does not officially endorse any candidate but says “as a creative person who happens to work in Toronto… it was hard to pass up the opportunity to do something fun on the Rob Ford situation.”

The campaign follows previous viral campaigns from the agency, including a humorous video calling out the controversy around the Sochi Olympics, which garnered 5.5 million views, and its “Beer Fridge” campaign for Molson in Sochi, which was plugged on Jimmy Kimmel Live.