Monday, November 3, 2008

"For A Better Santa Ana"

Six months ago I began a little pet project known as the Santa Ana Pub Crawl–A little sociological experiment designed to change the perception of Santa Ana in the eyes of those who have never stepped foot in our town, while at the same time, boosting restaurant sales from the hours of 5PM through 8PM. In essence, a self-funded public relations campaign for the city of Santa Ana and free advertising for the downtown restaurants.

And what better way to lure people into Santa Ana than to offer food and drinks at great prices on a Saturday? When I approached each of the participating businesses with idea of a Pub Crawl, I only asked three things of them:

1. Offer drink/food specials one Saturday a month

2. Distribute, stamp and collect the Pub Crawl Cards

3. Contribute a prize to make the event more exciting

Over the next several Pub Crawls, someone in our "Crawl Group" would run into someone who has never set foot in Santa Ana's downtown. After saying how much fun they are having, they usually follow up with something to the likes of "Wow, I never knew Santa Ana was this cool" or "This is nothing like what I thought Santa Ana was like".

Mission accomplished. Well, kinda. No matter how many good things people like myself try to do for this city, the OC Register still sits in our backyard spewing fuel for brown hatred and ignorant stereotypes, but I digress.

Last week, I decided to extend the experiment and tie it into The Broken Window Theory. In the spirit of the election season, I created a handful of signs reading "Ben Dayhoe: For A Better Santa" with the Pub Crawl URL listed below the tagline. Under the cover of darkness, we set out to stake them around town (example below).

With the help of two awesome neighbors, we successfully "politically vandalized" the city of Santa Ana in an effort to promote the Pub Crawl to residents of Santa Ana, and maybe get a laugh or two (bonus points for offending).
What I found to be interesting was that the signs that I placed adjacent to official candidate and proposition signs remained untouched (with the exception of the sign we placed on the SW corner of Sycamore and Main that was mysteriously removed and replaced with yet another "Michele Martinez for Mayor"), and the signs that were placed on Broadway and E. Seventeenth Street where no other campaign signs resided were quickly removed.

Does the removal of my signs prove the Broken Window Theory? Not at all (but it does make me wonder how much "political graffiti" will remain post-November 4th). But I did notice that once political signs were removed, they were very slow to come back in that very same location.

David Hastie, the General Manager down at Memphis thinks that someone may have actually stolen my some of my signs. He told me in an email last week that people were actually running out into the center median and to take pictures with my signs. How rad is that?

Stolen or not, I'm very flattered. In my six+ years as a professional designer, NO ONE has ever taken a picture with anything I've created, let alone stolen my work. I say awesome–awesome to the max!

This Wednesday, I'm hoping to meet with the Downtown Business Council in hopes to receive funding to further promote the Pub Crawls. It's been a fun and humbling experience for me and I hope that the Pub Crawl continues to grow, chipping away at the stigma that's associated with our great city of Santa Ana.

The next Pub Crawl is this Saturday, November 8th. I hope you'll join me for a drink.

One last note, I'd like to thank my neighbors Dallas, Chris and Krissy for letting me "politicize" your front yards, as well as "Lando" and "El Diablo Blanco" for helping plant the signs.


Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I live down the street from you (Spurgeon and Civic Center) and have been reading your blog for months. Saw your sign while heading home one afternoon and started CRACKING up. We've yet to attend a Santa Ana Pub Crawl (we're usually working) but we think what you're doing for the area is fantastic. Keep up the good work. Maybe we'll see you this coming month.


Anonymous said...

I would like to remind people that they have the option of writing in a candidate for Mayor ;)

Anonymous said...

I saw one of your signs on my way to La Chiquita last week. I could not stop laughing. Funny Stuff!!

Claudia said...

I thought I imagined seeing one of those signs! HILARIOUS! The pub crawls are awesome!

Anonymous said...

I found this brilliant, Ben ... great work!!

Today while picking up lunch I saw a city crew taking down all the "political graffiti." The truck was filled to the top with political signs. I stopped, got out, and asked the guys if there were any of those "Ben Dayhoe signs ... you know, the red ones ... for a better Santa Ana future" in their truck. They said NO, they hadn't seen any. I was disappointed, I wanted to reclaim one ... whether for you or me, I wasn't sure.

Great work...

Spencer Hoo said...

yah, if there are any left overs, I call dibs on one. :)


Anonymous said...

Ben...a tip of the hat to you my friend. The Ben Dayhoe political signs were a stroke of comic genuis. I loved it. I've never seen anything like that previously.

Way to go on the pub crawl. I'm gonna try to hit it this Saturday. You are doing so much to promote this great city! We all appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Just a might check into the California Dram Shop Liability Laws. I know they vary state to state but, something to consider...a friend.