Billions of dollars were on the line.

 

In 2015, San Francisco was on the verge of passing a ballot measure designed to severely restrict short-term rentals.

Prop F would have dramatically harmed how Airbnb operated in its own hometown. And it would have led to similar draconian measures to undermine Airbnb (and similar services like VRBO) in other U.S. cities and around the world. Even worse, if Prop F passed, thousands of San Franciscans that made extra income by renting out a room would see that income disappear.

Literally, billion of dollars were on the line.

We were hired by the ballot committee to defeat Prop F.

Our analysis of the polling was to communicate a strategic sequence of TV ads to move voters.   At a high-level, we focused on a broad theme that Prop F was “just too extreme.”  But within that theme, we created a sequence of ads that raised serious concerns over privacy, increased lawsuits, & neighbors spying on neighbors.

“…terrifyingly good…”

– Slate.com’s Alison Griswold describing the campaign’s efforts in San Francisco

 

According to tracking polling after just three weeks our “No” vote jumped to a dramatic double-digit lead
while the “Yes” vote dropped like a rock.

Strategically we had undermined Prop F before our opponents could react. That made it ultimately impossible for them ever to fully recover or to ever regain the lead.

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“Best Ballot Initiative Ad in the Nation”

– Winner of the 2016 Stanley J. Reed Award of Campaign Excellence for the “Night” spot featuring the sleeping woman.

 

 

Radio

We layered our television and digital communications with a radio program designed to validate our key arguments with third parties such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Mayor Ed Lee, and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.  Listen to one of our radio ads below.

San Francisco for Everyone – No on Prop F, “Together” featuring Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom:

 

Results

In the end, Prop F was defeated in a decisive and unexpected 11-point landslide.

NBC called the Prop F campaign one of the “6 races to watch in the nation” and Slate.com described the campaign’s efforts in San Francisco as “terrifyingly good.”  New York Real Estate News said the “(Prop F) victory surprised the political establishment, signaling to lawmakers here (in NY) that the company should not be underestimated.”

The “night” ad featuring the woman sleeping won the Stanley J. Reed Award of Campaign Excellence for “Best Ballot Initiative Ad in the Nation.”

 

“…a sophisticated political campaign …”

– The Wall Street Journal describing the campaign’s successful efforts