Markham to voters: How would you DIY?

A new campaign from the GTA town sets out to inspire residents to vote by asking them to imagine how they would run the city.

If you had to put out the fires in your neighbourhood yourself, or water and mow the parks, how would your city look?

This is the question the town of Markham is asking as part of its new ‘Do it yourself Markham’ voter awareness campaign in the lead-up to the municipal election Oct. 25.

Working with Toronto-based Delvinia, Markham has released a series of YouTube videos emphasizing the importance of effective municipal services by showing what life would be like if citizens had to take on those services themselves, Dennis Flaherty, director, communications and community relations, Town of Markham, tells MiC. The videos were co-produced by Delvinia and Toronto-based The Biz Media.

‘We wanted to give people a better understanding of the kinds of services the municipality delivers,’ says Flaherty. ‘In a humorous way, we’re trying to reinforce that people shouldn’t take their municipal services for granted and their vote matters in how these services are delivered.’

‘Do it Yourself Markham’ started last week and will run until the election. The town is releasing one video per week, covering topics such as garbage pick-up and water treatment while also trying to engage voters through Facebook and Twitter.

The social media campaign is meant to complement the traditional media buy in place, which includes local newspapers and OOH. The buy was handled in-house.

Markham has been on the front line of web-based civic engagement during elections. In 2003 it became one of the first municipalities in Canada to offer the option of voting online, and in 2006 saw a 10% increase in voter turnout, much of it a result of online voters.