The writers for Russian blog URA.RU got fed up with unfixed potholes in the city of Yekaterinburg, so they decided to force-feed them to politicians. Or, anyway, giant cartoons of politicians’ heads. They enlisted ad agency Voskhod to draw cartoons of local pols around potholes and other road imperfections, in order to draw attention to the blight. And it worked.
The idea was simple: If politicians care more about their public image than about the state of the roads, then the only solution is to inextricably intwine the two. Voskhod did that literally, by inscribing the offenders’ faces right on the surface of the road. Suddenly, instead of just being a safety hazard, the potholes were an image problem. And that got results.
More than 300 media outlets reported about the road cartoons, and lo and behold, officials were shamed into action. All the targeted potholes have now been fixed. Now, who do I talk to about getting Mitt Romney tattooed on a hungry child’s face?
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