Our Community, Our Dollars

Public Affairs

From Dry to Wet: How a Ballot Issue Went from Petition Signing to the Arkansas Supreme Court

Our Community, Our Dollars, hired our agency to help pass the sale of alcohol in Saline County. Our goal was simple: to turn Saline County – a dry county that hadn’t had the opportunity to vote on this issue since 1939 – wet. But before we did that, we had to persuade 38 percent of the county’s registered voters to sign a petition to even get the issue on the ballot.
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Using tried-and-true research strategies (secondary research, voter focus groups and economic impact studies) and creative strategies (logo/branding work, media relations and advertising), we oversaw an integrated campaign to remind voters of the benefits of being a wet county. The agency’s most important role was overseeing all messaging and media relations, including acting as the primary spokesperson for the campaign. We spoke on behalf of the client from the early signature gathering stage through the group’s appearance in front of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Our team was charged with ensuring reporters and editors understood the complex legal issues at hand and simplifying the message so that Saline County voters could best understand important aspects.

Just three days before the General Election, the Supreme Court voted in favor of OCOD (over the opposing liquor stores who had a lot to lose if Saline County went wet). This allowed Saline County residents to vote on the issue. After months of hard work, Saline County voted to go wet 54% for, 46% against on Nov. 4, 2014. According to the economic impact study commissioned by Our Community, Our Dollars and conducted by the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research, Saline County could see an impact of $12.5 million by becoming a wet county.

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