A new online campaign against Greensward parking is attempting to get the Memphis Zoo where it digitally hurts, web traffic.
Ben Fant, owner of local marketing firm Farmhouse, has secured the website addresses thememphiszoo.com and thememphiszoo.org and launched a digital campaign to drive web traffic to the sites. That could, possibly, boost those sites to the top of a web search if someone Googles “Memphis Zoo.”
No content is yet available on the two sites but Fant says it is coming soon. Should an unwitting web surfer looking for the zoo site end up on one of Fant's sites, they'll find “our vision of The Memphis Zoo.” Fant says they will “tell our story and express how the zoo is destroying Overton Park.”
In the meantime, Fant has launched a Facebook page
for the Greensward in which a self-aware Greensward (full name: Mr. Green Ward) tells his tale in posts like this:
“Look... between you and me... I knew the Zoo before it had money. And it was not like this. I mean... it was soooo different. They couldn't go to ‘nice’ places. Always wanted to do a dinner at their house. I mean... I know we all go through it, but you know... how they are being now.... sh... sh... sh... Is that them? No. Okay. Nevermind. Sorry... thought it was them. Where was I? Oh yeah... they were once poor and now they are rich and they are acting like a sack of rotten, loathsome roly polys. #neverforget.”
Fant has also launched memphiszooparking.com
where visitors can find information about the Greensward, a map of alternative places to park, recommendations for other things they could buy with the $5 the zoo charges to park on the Greensward (Fruit Roll-Ups), and a printable sign for a car window that reads “I’m Not An Ass. I Will Not Park On Grass.”
To further all of the efforts, Fant has also launched a GoFundMe page
called "Cage the Zoo." Funds raised on the page will pay for search engine optimization and digital targeting campaigns for thememphiszoo.com and thememphiszoo.org.
Fant said he wanted to bring “wit and creativity to this situation as well as doing what my firm does…digital and social media.” But he says he’s not out to blast the zoo. Here’s the explanation from the GoFundMe site:
“This will not be a smear campaign. The only thing we smear is cream cheese. This will not be a rage campaign. The only thing we rage is against the machine. This will be a campaign of education, wit, guile, and creativity. If the zoo comes with a fist, we will come with a Choco-Taco. If the zoo comes with a gun, we will run in fear. If the zoo comes with legal action, we will come with Action Jackson. Bottom line, if they aren't making sense, neither will we. And we are resolute in our cause. We want cars to stop parking on the Greensward.”
Fant said the work is not coming out of his firm's pocket nor is he being paid to do it.
“We love the park,” Fant said.