Jack Astor’s backs Bill Gates for Mayor of Toronto

July 09, 2012  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

With more than 15,000 Microsoft employees and partners currently in town for the tech giant’s annual Global Conference, restaurant chain Jack Astor’s saw an opportunity to boost walk-in traffic.

The solution: Tout Microsoft founder Bill Gates as a possible mayoral candidate. The national chain, which has five Toronto locations, today launched a tongue-in-cheek program urging Torontonians to vote for Gates as the city’s next mayor.

Developed in association with agency Zulu Alpha Kilo and Vancouver PR firm B*Co, the campaign kicked off at Jack Astor’s new Front St. location, just down the street from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, with people wearing Bill Gates masks and carrying placards urging motorists and pedestrians to vote for Gates.

“We wanted to find a very ‘Jack’ way—irreverent and cheeky—to welcome all of the Microsoft attendees to our city, and we thought what better way than to hold a Bill Gates for Mayor campaign,” said Lauren Michell, vice-president of marketing for Jack Astor’s parent company, SIR Corp.

All of the city’s downtown Jack Astor’s locations will serve as campaign headquarters during the Microsoft convention, featuring campaign signs and Bill Gates masks. Jack Astor’s Facebook and YouTube channel also features video of the rallies.

Jack Astor’s doesn’t currently have a campaign in market, but in June launched a series of “Jack Attacks”—using a Jack Astor’s-branded Mini to deliver food to unsuspecting recipients—to promote its revamped menu.

“It’s something we’d like to do more of,” said Michell of the chain’s guerrilla marketing approaches. “We try to be untraditional and unconventional and do things that surprise and delight our guests.”

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