Marcus Sanders ran as a candidate for Anchorage Assembly in 2017. A middle school teacher, Marcus had no background in politics and was unaffiliated with any party. His candidacy came out of nowhere.
Sanders knew he needed name recognition to get votes, which required promoting himself in a very public way. He wanted potential voters to look him up online to learn about his vision and goals for Anchorage.
“Everyone was doing the small billboard signs outside their homes,” says Sanders. “But the same people drive past them every day. How many people even see them? I wanted to have roving signs.”
For 9 weeks, 13 advertisements featuring Sanders ran on AnchorRide—buses that traverse major roads and neighborhoods.
Sanders believes his AnchorRides signs drove people to his online commercial, which spiked to 30,000 views once the bus campaign began. His polling numbers skyrocketed. “My opponents,” he says, “started taking me seriously after seeing my face on the People Mover.” They even had to spend extra to fight his newfound recognition. Everyone from other candidates to his students told him they saw the ads; his students shared photos of them on Facebook. While he ultimately didn’t win the seat, the race launched his political career. The Republican Party is now covering his advertising bills and wants him to run for State Senate. “The ads were a definite game-changer for my career,” says Sanders. “The best decision I ever made.”