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Behind the Corey Atkinson Ad: Why risk my reputation

by Dustan Hlady on Tuesday, March 29, 2016
 I recently saw a commercial for Corey Atkinson, the Moose Jaw North candidate for the NDP. I was touched by the story of his family, and how the lack of funding in Saskatchewan for mental health is affecting communities and people. Upon talking to Corey and his family, I learned that two of my friends, Matthew and Tony at Creech League Marketing Arts were behind this beautiful video. The next day, I decided to sit down with them to get more insight into their campaign and work with Corey Atkinson.

Why did you choose this mental health issue?

Tony: “We took Corey through an important branding process -not one of logos and colors- but one of ideas and principles about who Corey is foundationally and how that connects with his essential skills, abilities, and experiences. This helps us truly understand Corey, and what passions drive and define him, regardless of his job or status. Corey is putting his reputation at risk in running, and we wanted to ensure that if he wins or not, that the messaging we create in partnership with him actually reflects who he is, why he is running, how his values connect with his party, and ultimately that we are building his personal brand. We put that true story telling above everything, as it’s the only thing that can ring true with supporters -people tend know when you’re not being genuine, and even if you convince people, you regret it. What we really are simply doing is telling Corey’s true story, and the mental health platform -getting acceptable resources for families touched by mental health in it’s variety- is central for him because his family is one of those families.”

Matt: “I think it’s also important to recognize that this is an issue that’s not refutable. So many issues like LEAN are either subjective to opinion, or there’s not really enough facts publicly to take a convicted position on it, and in the issue of mental health, and education funding, the statistics are clear – Saskatchewan is behind.”

What do you hope to achieve with this video?

Matt: “Well, I think we ultimately hope to impact change. We also would love to see our client, Corey succeed. He’s extremely articulate, and motivated by a desire to help his community not to become a career politician, and I believe he’ll be a great advocate for the people of Moose Jaw as an MLA.”

Tony: ” This video, for me, is about awareness and education of the community. We are story-tellers on a budget hoping to capture and share a bit of what makes Corey tick as a candidate. To help the community Corey has been advocating for and the important cause and movement he stands for get it’s voice. We care most about that extremely hard job of telling that true story accurately, and letting the people decide if and how it’s the kind of thing they’ll get behind. If we’ve done our job, when voters hit the polls they’ll know why Corey is stepping up and putting his name on the ballot, and why he chose the party he did, and some of the passion that would drive his decisions in office. I also think the whole community benefits when the political conversations turn to the important issues of health and education in a province very much lagging behind the national standard – Good to highlight something close to your heart, to bring awareness to areas that you also hope to see growth and change in.“

Dustan Hlady
dustan j. hlady is the founder of Middle of Nowhere music and sings and writes songs for his band, Friend Friend. www.middleofnowheremusic.com