Election season has begun. Though, 2013 is not a national, state or even a mid-term election year. The lawn signs are fewer and the “intensity” of the public discourse is lower (unless you count debt-ceilings and affordable healthcare…but that’s a whole other topic).
But election season – beginning with the primaries in early September and ending on the first Tuesday in November – still carries a ‘reputation’.
To capitalize on this reputation, I use this time of year to hold a special collection at church:
Toilet paper and soap.
You get it, right? Everyone gets it: All I have to do is hold up a roll of TP and a bar of soap and say, “In observance of Election Season, we’re collecting rolls of toilet paper and bars of soap for our local food cupboards.”
That’s it, that’s all I have to say. The crowd in the pews must make some connection and fill in another meaning, based on the titters during my announcement.
Then, at the grocery store, they remember.
Last year we collected almost THREE HUNDRED rolls of toilet paper and two hundred bars of soap that were later distributed through the Community Food Cupboard of Rochester.
(With the recent $40 million in cuts to SNAP benefits, food cupboards will do their best to fill the gap as Americans face greater food security challenges. Hygiene items are often overlooked as a basic budget-straining need. Is it too crass to say that what goes in must come out?)
I issued a challenge to our congregation to donate twice the amount of toilet paper and soap that they donated last year. As long as I make a weekly appearance during the announcements portion of church, holding high a roll of TP and a bar of soap, and I say only these five words:
“In observance of election season…”
– our cup will runneth over.
Because in marketing, the best story told is the one you tell to yourself.