Four months before the Spring 2006 General Election, Media Magic Productions was hired as political consultants to the Ashtabula County Metroparks District Board of Directors’ Steering Committee. They asked us to consult with them and help manage their Issue 5 levy campaign, handle the campaign’s public and media relations and create advertising for print, radio, cable and broadcast TV. The Metropark ballot measure seeks voter approval for an Ashtabula County property tax levy of point-four mill (4/10 of a mill).
The Metroparks board had very limited funds to put toward the levy campaign effort, so we’ve worked very hard to make sure their hard earned dollars stretched as far as possible. Our job was to get out their message out to Ashtabula County voters, in a way that truly educated voters about one of Ashtabula county’s greatest assets. To make up for the campaign funding shortfall, our agency concentrated heavily on an aggressive public relations informational and educational campaign.
We kicked off the 2006 Levy Campaign with a Valentine’s Day news conference near the south entrance of the Western Reserve Greenway Trail – part of the park system that brings tourists and tourism dollars to Ashtabula County. Media Magic created and distributed a Media Advisory and Press Conference announcement, along with a complete media kit, including a press release explaining the levy, campaign talking points, brochures and other collateral for direct mail. We also prepared a speech, written by Cheryl dickson-Walker, for those Metropark officials hosting the Valentine’s Day event, including introductory comments for the dozen or so public officials and civic leaders speaking at the event.
For broadcast campaign advertising, Media Magic scripted and produced three, 30-second television and three, 30-second radio ads showcasing the spectacular Ashtabula County Metroparks Greenway Trail and testimonials from its users, and promoting the Metroparks Issue 5 levy campaign. The ads ran on local radio, Time Warner Cable and Conneaut Cable TV, as well as local broadcast outlets.
Footage and interviews used in the Metropark television commercials were filmed, over the past year, along the Metroparks’ Western Reserve Greenway Trail, by Media Magic Director of Photography, David Walker and videographer David Frank. The television spots were written, produced and edited by Cheryl Dickson-Walker; the radio spots were edited by David Walker. The background music “Rivers and Trails” was written and performed by northeast Ohio singer/songwriter Steve Madewell, who generously donated use of this song to the People for Parks campaign. “Rivers and Trails” is one of a collection of songs on Madewell’s “Rivers and Trails” CD, mastered by legendary folk singer, Alex Bevan.
Throughout the four month campaign, Media Magic distributed eight press releases and advisories. To spread the word even farther, we arranged for Metroparks Board members to discuss the issue on local radio shows and interviews with local newspapers.They also campaigned at numerous public events, including the March for Parks, Outdoor Sporting Show in Jefferson, Ohio, where they had an informational booth. Media Magic also designed for the Metroparks an “Andy Acorn” mascot costume. This bike-peddling, messenger of goodwill was created by Media Magic Productions Graphic Artist, Carol Dickson.