We’re all rooting for America’s cities these days. They’re coming back. Maybe it’s the sports, the aversion to lengthy car commutes or the nightlife, or a stubborn pride dating back to the classic 1970s the classic Daily News headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
After bouncing around several other American cities, Aaron Perlut settled in St. Louis with his family, and along with partners Brian Cross and Andy Barnett, headquartered their agency Elasticity there.
Perlut in particular believes wholeheartedly that the city doesn’t suck. The need to plant deep roots in the community to grow the firm and the fondness for his region spurred a Forbes.com column to fight against the notion of suckitude. With 158,000 views and counting, “St. Louis Doesn’t Suck” became jumping off point for a not-for-profit crowdsourced and crowdfunded platform Rally Saint Louis to address the city’s reputation issues. The column begins as a rant and ends as an outline for an integrated marketing plan, complete with SEO kicker.
Perlut–a marketer who has also staked a great deal on his passion for the mustache–along with his partner Cross have made a splash there by creating a rally. “It’s in essence a customized mashup of everything from ‘My Starbucks Idea’ to Kiva or Kickstarter for any and all projects that broadly help ‘market a greater St. Louis,” providing a means of democratizing ideas to represent the region,” Perlut told me by phone today. He added that contributions to the 501c3 are tax deductible, unlike those to Kickstarter projects.
In just five months, Rally Saint Louis has created a platform that has brought two projects to 100% funding, as well as linking organizations and consumers who otherwise would never have connected for the greater good, and even negotiating unique opportunities like an installation by one of the nation’s leading children’s museums at the airport.
As a result of Rally, “The Lou” can look forward to a community rooftop farm and a massive 750-foot wide “welcome” sign on the side of the Mississippi Riverside Cotton Belt Building in the near future. Both were seen in the early phases of open up-voting as having the best potential to rally the city’s residents to a winning attitude.
Elasticity’s partners and staff hope the sum total of media coverage , social chatter, and positive SEO will ultimately help the world understand that Saint Louis is a community that does not suck. And it’s smart business for an agency too.