There’s a first time for everything. This election season has marked the first time a cheetah has run for mayor, and also the first time we interviewed one.
Here at ClickZ, we typically do our profiles on people from brands and agencies. We’ve never spoken to a mascot before, but we managed to catch Chester Cheetah for a few minutes during his busy campaign.
Cheetah recently ran for mayor in Chester, a town of about 1,000 in north-central Montana, against current Mayor Noel Walston. We talked with Cheetah about whether his large Twitter following would help him overcome the incumbent advantage, his video strategy, and his relationship with Mario Lopez.
ClickZ: The Orange Party hasn’t won a single election in Montana’s history. Do you think your active social presence is helping you make history?
Chester Cheetah: The Orange Party may be new, but my social presence has been a factor long before Twitter existed. I mean, Cheetos are inherently social, so wherever there’s a party, I’ve been welcomed. Red party, blue party, or Orange Party: Cheetos are there, and I am there, too.
But if we’re talking history, let me just state that a cheetah has never run for office in Montana, so I would say that’s an even more significant point. My exceptional Twitter feed just proves what my grandfather told me about being a great leader, “Speak in 140 characters and carry a big bag of snacks.” That last statement was 54 characters, by the way.
CZ: You’ve been live tweeting the presidential debates. How has analyzing them helped you strategize for your own campaign?
CC: I have learned the importance of a good sound bite; and a good bite, period. Speaking of which, my Change for Snacks platform promises cheesy bites in every hand.
— Chester Cheetah (@ChesterCheetah) October 29, 2015
CZ: We recently ranked the presidential candidates based on their digital marketing efforts. If you were running for president, where would you have placed on our list?
CC: While I would love to speculate, my entire focus is on running for mayor of Chester, Montana. We can reschedule the interview about my presidential ambitions at a later date, from the Mayor’s Mansion.
CZ: Speaking of video, that anti-Walston ad on your website was pretty harsh. Has there been any fallback from voters or did you completely win them over with all the baby-kissing?
CC: I think I opened some eyes to the real “No”-el Walston. There’s been no fallback. Actually, people have fallen forward – into the arms of the Orange Party. The only actual smearing going on in this campaign is all the baby food those little fingers leave on my fur. I can’t help it if babies prefer fluffier candidates.
CZ: Video is something you do very well and a huge area of interest for ClickZ readers. What’s the best tip you can offer for their own video marketing efforts?
CC: They say that something cute, hilarious, or anything remotely to do with cats wins the Internet. I’m a triple threat. So put me in your videos. Duh.
CZ: You’ve been tweeting about your support from celebrities. Mario Lopez has 61 jobs and spent his precious time endorsing you for mayor of a town he doesn’t even live in. I can’t help but wonder, is there any Cheetos-related bribery going on behind the scenes? Something smells fishy.
CC: Mario is a smart man. He knows that his allegiance to the Orange Party could mean a cabinet appointment later. Also, my cabinets are always filled with Cheetos.
— Mario Lopez (@MarioLopezExtra) October 13, 2015
CZ: What’s your stance on the markets?
CC: I’m an avid watcher of the markets – be they super, mini, or gas station. I mean, that’s where you find the Cheetos.
CZ: If you win, what’s next? Can we expect to see you campaign for Helena in a few years?
CC: When I win, my plan is just to keep on winning. As long as there is an empty hand without a decent snack and an empty slot on any ballot, you can expect Orange Party paw prints all over it.
In between conducting this Q&A and it being published, Cheetah has announced his concession from the race.
Whether his downfall was smear campaign backlash, lack of political experience, or cockiness (when you win – really?) we can be certain that digital marketing wasn’t his undoing. Cheetah has way more Twitter followers than Mayor Walston.
Though he won’t govern over Chester’s people, Cheetah did leave them a truck full of free chips before leaving town in his campaign bus, wondering what could have been.
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