If you've been sauntering around the city of Phoenix in recent days, you might get the impression that a new, hip political candidate suddenly entered the fray just weeks before election day.
Lawn signs directing you to "HomieForSenate.com" have sprouted out of nowhere, further cluttering our public corners and median strips with jarring blasts of turquoise and promises of "Significant Change."
The only problem: You cannot vote for Homie, because Homie is not a person (or a proposition). Founded in 2015, Homie is a Utah-based startup that presents itself as an alternative to pricey real estate agents. Think Uber, but for RE/MAX.
The company just launched in Phoenix this year, which explains why it is abusing the election season for an obnoxious guerrilla marketing campaign. It's unclear whether the campaign is legal.
Anybody who wants to display a commercial sign in the city of Phoenix must obtain a permit. Political signs come with their own set of rules, including requirements to notify the city and to remove the sign 10 days after the election.
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By deadline, the city's Phoenix and Planning Department had not responded to a question on whether Homie followed city regulations in planting its signs. (We will update this post if we get a response.)
After we contacted Homie through email, a public relations representative with the local firm Knoodle accidentally copied us in a response to Homie VP of Marketing Joe Grover.
"The city of Phoenix hasn’t reached out to us on any of the signs yet," wrote Knoodle director of PR Ross Trumble to Grover.
Trumble recommended Homie disregard questions from Phoenix New Times. "No matter what we say this is a negative column and they’re just fishing for information," Trumble wrote. "I would ignore this and let him write what he’s going to write."