How Brands Are Energizing Voter Registration For The Midterms
When most people in my generation hear the word “midterms,” the first thing that comes to mind is exam season in college, but that’s rapidly changing this election cycle.
Midterm elections are around the corner, Tuesday, November 6th to be exact, and young people are more active than ever. According to a CIRCLE poll, youth political participation is at an all-time high, with 34% of young people saying they are “extremely likely” to vote.
But why the sudden spike in interest? The answer has a lot to do with social media and brands.
From Twitter to Lyft and Bumble to Google, social media and tech companies have all launched initiatives to encourage their users to register to vote.
Taylor Swift, who has notoriously remained silent on political issues, posted an Instagram endorsing Tennessee Democrats Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Following her post, Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for the nonprofit Vote.org, told Buzzfeed that numbers had spiked both nationally and in Swift’s home state of Tennessee: “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Guthrie said, and 2,144 new voters in Tennessee.
It’s clear that social media has a huge impact on our generation, considering that just under 70 percent of Americans use some form of social media, according to Pew Research Center.
But what happens when brands partner with voting organizations? Video marketing magic.
Here are some brands that used video marketing for voter registration.
Known for their music videos and reality content, MTV launched their first-ever midterm election campaign, “+1 the Vote,” creating “a buddy system to help youth identify their unregistered friends and encourage them to register to vote.”
The website states, “together, you have enough votes to change the future,” showing how eligible voters are made up of 32% of millennials, compared to 30% of baby boomers. Their website gears towards millennials and post-millennials, also known as Gen Z, proclaiming that “young people have led the charge in improving our communities,” and “if you show up, young people will be the biggest force on November 6th.”
For the campaign, MTV brought on board boy band PRETTYMUCH, Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, YouTube personality and Big Brother alum Frankie Grande, Love & Hip Hop: New York star Erica Mena, and more celebrities.
Additionally, Viacom launched a brand-wide PSA highlighting iconic duos, including Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart, Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Star, encouraging viewers to “tag their +1s” and register to vote.
FUNNY OR DIE
Funny Or Die star Billy Eichner launched his Glam Up The Midterms initiative with NRDC, which aims to bring people out to vote on Nov. 6th. The website showcases how “only 12% of young people voted during the last midterm election,” appropriately followed by “Wow. That’s super embarrassing, America.”
The latest video features This is Us star Mandy Moore, Fresh Off the Boat‘s Randall Park, comedian Kumail Nanjiani and The Assassination of Gianni Versace star Darren Criss.
The celebs gathered for a “Non-Voters Anonymous” support group, where they listed cliché excuses for not voting: “I was a student and I didn’t have time,” or “I didn’t know where to vote.” Eichner sets these excuses to bed and explains why everyone under the age of 35 who is eligible to vote should. “Voting is like a Childish Gambino video,” Eichner says. “It’s VERY IMPORTANT.”
HBO debuted their PSA, produced with Rock the Vote, in a video that speaks volumes – by not speaking at all. Celebrities stand silently as they look into the camera for a minute. A message at the end reads simply, “Right now, there’s only one voice that needs to be heard. Yours.”
The video features HBO stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Lena Dunham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ed Harris, among others.
“The right to vote is one of the most ignored gifts of our democracy,” Dennis Williams, HBO’s senior vice president of corporate social responsibility, told ITK in a statement. “At HBO, we often have programs that give voice to the underrepresented. This partnership with Rock the Vote is us encouraging you to use your voice so that you are heard.”
Even Tinder is getting in on this political action. Also partnering with Rock the Vote, Tinder created a Schoolhouse Rock! video to help increase voter turnout among young Americans.
“We are thrilled to relaunch our partnership with Tinder and help mobilize their community of millennials for the 2018 Midterms,” said Jen Tolentino, Rock the Vote’s Director of Policy and Civic Tech, in a press release. “There is a lot at stake this November: every single Congressional District, 35 Senate seats, 36 Gubernatorial races, plus numerous statewide and local races, and many important ballot measures. By leveraging Tinder’s established fun and playful brand, we are excited to begin reshaping the public perception of voting to be one of celebration and community.”
This is an absolutely genius idea because millennials grew up with Schoolhouse Rock! videos. This strategy is both nostalgic and relevant, targeting a specific audience with exactly the right content.
Carolyn DeWitt, president and executive director of Rock The Vote, said she thought brands today were “more willing to invest in creating a culture of civic engagement for their employees and their customers.”
So will these videos pay off come November 6th? We’ll find out.
Lucy Wolfe is the Marketing and Communications Intern for Green Buzz Agency. She is registered to vote in Pennsylvania and recently sent in her absentee ballot for the midterm elections. #SheVoted