Photo: Mayor Stubbs on Facebook
Fifteen years ago, a few residents of Talkeetna, Alaska — a tiny town of 900 — didn’t like the candidates who were running for mayor.As a joke, they told people to vote for Stubbs the cat as a write-up candidate. Somehow, he won, reports Jason Lamb at KTUU. So, they gave Stubbs the title of honorary mayor, and they’ve been re-electing him ever since.
Well, it turned out to be a fantastic publicity stunt. Stubbs has made a tangible impact on the town’s tourism.
“He was just in the Alaska Magazine, and he’s been featured in a few different things,” Lauri Stec, who works at a local general store, told KTUU. “Oh my gosh, we probably have 30 to 40 people a day come in who are tourists wanting to see him.”
Mayor Stubbs has nearly 3,000 fans on Facebook now. That’s far more than there are in the town where he lives.
Now, they probably didn’t mean for the cat to become some sort of attraction, but it goes to show that stunts like these can make a real difference. A little gimmick can give a brand (in this case, a town) a surprising level of notoriety.
Of course, it’s difficult to figure how to actually accomplish that. Many gimmicks, like the legend of Mayor Stubbs, are created by accident, not by some marketing campaign.
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