To get its message in front of the approximately 6,500 Keriekeri residents, the FNDC took the risk of launching an unconventional—and somewhat controversial—campaign called ‘Let’s talk crap!’
With 14.5 percent of the Kerikeri population aged 65 and older, there was initial concern that use of a mild expletive could offend, and consequently alienate, a large chunk of the voters. Despite this risk, the council stuck by the strategy and rolled out the campaign over four phases, the first of which saw three rustic longdrops being placed in busy public areas. Rather than providing any additional information, Council created a sense of intrigue by simply tagging the old-school loos with the www. letstalkcrap.co.nz web address.
In addition to this, 15 dunny displays—made of old toilet pans planted with flowers—were also installed in high traffic areas such as supermarkets, service station forecourts, and footpaths. And in a bizarre show of appreciation, these displays were regularly stolen throughout the campaign despite being siliconed and bolted down.
The initial part of the campaign immediately resonated with the community by triggering nostalgic memories of the ‘good ol’ days’ when longdrops were commonplace throughout the nation—and, as a result, traffic started streaming to the website. Those who visited the campaign site found highly technical information presented in a conversational tone as well as links to FNDC voting portal.
But the campaign didn’t end there. A week later, FNDC encouraged supermarket customers to vote by placing shelf wobblers on the toilet paper aisles. This push was further consolidated by the emergence of Roley, a toilet roll mascot who, with the help of several assistants, distributed rack cards promoting the online and text voting options. Over the course of the first two weeks of the campaign period, FNDC also handed out 10,000 rolls of toilet paper emblazoned with the web address to members of the community. And the campaign also stretched to the root of the issue, with the placement of letstalkcrap.co.nz posters in all public toilets.
After this very unconventional start, the campaign then took a more traditional turn as FNDC mailed 12-page booklets to all the ratepayers in the third week. This direct marketing was supported by a high-frequency radio campaign as well as Roley, who was now handing out books and physically filling in votes with the public. These initiatives continued into the fourth and fifth weeks of the campaign, and helped to draw attention to the five public meetings that council had hosted.