As Toronto’s mayoral race starts to gain momentum, faux campaign signs are popping up in public spaces courtesy of community group No Ford Nation.
One sign spotted in the city’s Trinity Bellwoods Park urges voters to elect fake candidate Jeff McElroy. His slogan? “He promises to just smoke pot as mayor. Not crack.”
Another sign features “Ray Faranzi” promising that, unlike Toronto’s current mayor, Rob Ford, he won’t threaten to kill people and get publicly drunk. He’ll just get publicly drunk.
It’s part of an anyone-but-Ford campaign spearheaded by local writer Christina Robins. Robins started the volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization three years ago.
“If I can get people looking at other candidates and making a better choice, then I’ll have done my job,” said Robins.
And it is a full-time job, at least for now. Robins, who is taking a break from writing her latest novel to run this operation, oversees a team of volunteers who moderate the No Ford Nation Facebook page. “They’re people who are tired of the ridiculousness in our city and want to take it back,” said Robins of her staff.
Visitors to NoFordNation.com can read a summary of Ford’s “lies and misleading results” uncovered by the Toronto Star, and learn more about those running against him.
To spread No Ford Nation’s message, Robins collaborated with Toronto- and Vancouver-based ad agency Rethink to produce the fake campaign signs and a series of videos. The cartoon reenactments – done by Toronto production company Crush – of the mayor’s most notorious moments use real audio from Ford’s press conferences and… social engagements.
Caleb Goodman, partner and managing director at Rethink, said the videos were fairly easy to conceptualize. “The raw material was so rich creatively that the ads literally wrote themselves,” he said. Just as Saturday Night Live inserted Sarah Palin’s transcripts directly into their scripts, the team at Rethink agreed that they could never come up with any dialogue better than Ford’s real soundbites.