In season four of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope takes a shot at fulfilling a lifelong ambition, running for political office to become the newest city councilperson of Pawnee, IN. But that chance is clouded by the need to hide her new relationship with co-worker and civics nerd Ben Wyatt in violation of city rules. Deciding to go public, Leslie’s race for office is put into serious jeopardy when the resulting ethics investigation costs Ben his job, lowers Leslie’s poll numbers down to 1%, and causes her professional political consultants to jump ship. Luckily, Leslie’s co-workers and friends save the campaign by volunteering to be the core of her staff, with Ben as her campaign manager.
As the race continues, Leslie finds it increasingly difficult to juggle her current duties as deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department with the demands of running a full time political campaign. Things come to a head in the episode Sweet Sixteen [S04E16], with Leslie resisting Ron’s demands that she take a leave of absence while simultaneously planning a ‘Sweet Sixteen’ birthday party for leap year born co-worker Jerry and dealing with misprinted campaign lawn signs that have the long URL to her sign graphic printed in large black letters on a white background, and the actual graphic limited to a small corner. This is the first time that Knope2012.com is shown, with the domain included in campaign materials shown throughout the remaining season including on the side of a campaign bus that crashes the wake / press conference of her opponent’s father.
Real Life Use:
More than a single one page brochure site or simple mock-up with staff bios, the Parks and Recreation producers had a full campaign site made that evolved over the entirety of Knope’s campaign.
Starting months before Knope2012.com officially appears on-screen, Archive.org shows the domain launching alongside the start of season 4 premiere I’m Leslie Knope [S04E01] with the political equivalent of a placeholder page containing Leslie’s campaign photo, announcement statement, logo, and link to a ‘Support’ page where visitors could purchase campaign swag. The day after the episode aired, the official Parks and Recreation account tweeted an announcement about the site to fans, although the site remained relatively static until shortly before the airing of The Comeback Kid [S04E11], where the campaign and the website both really kick into high gear.
With press releases that detail the events before and after the campaign kick-off featured in the The Comeback Kid, the site kept pace with the season with campaign updates on a bowling alley meet and greet [S04E13], high profile endorsements [S04E15], issues such as senior citizen ramps [S04E17], the candidate debate [S04E20], and final Get Out The Vote bus tour [S04E21].
Going further into a full multimedia endeavor, the site also includes an embedded campaign ad video (no longer working from the site but viewable here), media kit with shareable images and PDF signs, and an downloadable MP3 of the campaign theme song sung by Mouse Rat’s Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and featuring Duke Silver (Nick Offerman) on sax.
Although there is a bit of foreshadowing to a season five plot involving emergency preparedness, site updates conclude with the end of Leslie’s campaign and season four with last items consisting of a upbeat letter to supporters in the news section and a bittersweet request for suggestions via slideshow to start her term.
As of 09/17/2015, NBC still maintains the site although that can change at any time. Current information about Knope2012.com can be found via the 3rd party reference links below. Thanks for reading, and never forget to Catch Your Dream.