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The Best Advertising I have Seen in Years

Election day is coming in Ontario, which means there are candidates and confusion everywhere. In the midst of it all, I had the rare pleasure of witnessing some brilliant advertising.

The Context

In the summer of 2010, one of Toronto’s main north/south streets changed from a 5 lane street to 4 lanes. The 5-lane street was a thing of wonder. In the morning, 3 of the lanes were dedicated to getting cars downtown, and in the evening, the middle lane was switched from southbound to northbound, providing 3 lanes for people to get out of downtown. During the day, there was on street parking. It was possible for trucks to unload, and cabs to pick up people and drop them off without causing a major backup.

The change to a 4 lanes was put in place to accommodate a bike lane. The problem:  100,000 cars in gridlock versus some bikes does not make for an environmentally friendly situation. Leaving the politics aside, it has been day-long gridlock ever since the change.

The Event

This week, driving home in a rainstorm, the traffic was worse than usual. Sitting in my car, late for an evening meeting, I was fascinated to see a guy in a raincoat holding a big florescent cardboard sign that said “Simon Wookey”…I thought “Interesting, wonder what that’s about?” 20 feet up the street was another guy holding a similar sign that said, “will”. Ultimately a total of 5 signs that ended out reading:

“Simon Wookey…will…get your… middle lane… back”

Brilliant. Talk about understanding people’s pain and offering a potential solution during their moment of pain.

Alongside of answering my unasked question regarding whether the lane could possibly be returned to its previous state, I now have heard of a candidate that I was unaware of, and it made me smile. In the middle of a traffic jam! Thanks Simon.

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