HCP spent the first four days creating a brand, position, content, website, advertisements, direct mail, press releases, videos, social media pages, an aggressive paid/earned media strategy, and budget to quickly execute a full-scale bi-partisan campaign that looked as if it was planned and created six months prior.
The SOS campaign’s goal was to educate “all” voters on the facts and figures supporting the tax. About two weeks into the campaign, HCP was notified that Referendum No. 3 would be at the ballot’s bottom, even below the transportation referendum.
With thousands of yard signs, hundreds of thousands of direct mailers, thousands of social media posts, digital billboards, Google AdWords, programmatic banners, endless people-on-the-street video interviews, weekly town hall meetings, and dozens of bi-partisan endorsements, HCP began to focus on a regional public relations strategy that would prompt people to “Vote from the Bottom Up!” One of the most popular press releases distributed statewide on PR Newswire explained the differences between referendums and amendments.
By the end of the campaign, HCP’s tactics reached nearly six million unique impressions. Despite the challenges, on November 6, 2018, Hillsborough County Referendum No. 3 passed with 56.35 percent of residents voting “For” the tax.
The Hillsborough County Public School System is the eighth largest school district in the United States, with over 250 K-12 schools. The district serves almost 200,000 students, approximately 16,000 teachers, and 4,500 educational support personnel.