Over the summer of 2016 I worked as an Intern for Zubi Advertising, an agency in Coral Gables, along with five other interns: Michelle Abdelnour, Antonio Casuso, Nadia Mousa, Victoria Alsina, and Misha Cruz. At the beginning of the summer we were presented with a problem Zubi was facing, and during our time at the agency we aided in research and brainstorming for Zubi's campaigns, designed our own creative brief, and concepted and produced a rough version of a campaign to solve the problem we were assigned, a campaign that we pitched to agency executives and later the entire agency.
Increase voter registration and turnout in 2016.
Voting, we are so often told throughout childhood, is the most important right we have as Americans. It's what gives us a voice in our government, what separates democracies like ours from tyranny and despotism. However, when it actually comes time for it, a shockingly high number of Americans don't vote, leaving the United States with voter turnout rates like the 57.5% of citizens who voted in the 2012 election. For no generation is this more true than Millennials, less than half of whom voted in 2012.
However, early in 2016 Millennials, defined as those aged 18-34 by the Pew Research Center, overtook Baby Boomers as the largest American generation. In doing so, they became the most powerful voting bloc in America, able to exert tremendous influence on an election. This leads to a powerful paradox: Millennials, while the generation with the largest potential to impact any election, had the smallest actual impact. It was here that we saw our opportunity.
The Campaign: Who Do You Vote For?
We care about the issues that matter to us because they impact us and the people that we love.
The first question we usually ask people we know about the election is "who are you voting for?" by which we actually mean "who do you want to elect?" However, for younger voters disillusioned with both major-party candidates, this understanding of that question simply reminds them of a choice between two evils that they'd just as soon not make, and may well make them even less likely to vote. This campaign turns that idea on its head, making people ask not who it is they're trying to elect, but who in their lives makes them realize why voting and attempting to impact the issues they care about is so important.
This movement would be introduced by a video posted both on social media sites and on YouTube, that would explain the campaign's central idea and encouraged viewers to engage with it. With that in mind, we produced the following rough version of such an anthem.
On YouTube, the anthem would live on a channel dedicated to the accounts and would also appear as pre-roll for other videos.
The major content posted by the campaign would consist of short videos, both posted on social media and the campaign's YouTube channel and placed as preroll videos on YouTube. These videos would showcase powerful stories of people voting because the issues at stake in this election effect them and those they love. A mockup of one potential video is below.
These videos have myriad advantages. They are short, which allows them to be placed on YouTube as preroll videos that can't be skipped over. This short length means they can also be produced quickly and cheaply, which in turn allows them to respond to current events, making their impact even more powerful. They can also be produced in a large enough quantity to cover a multitude of issues and appeal to both left-leaning and right-leaning Millennials, who could be targeted independently and presented with videos appealing to their political affiliation.
Other possible stories that could be explored through these videos include:
A son honoring his mother, who died as a 9/11 first responder.
A mother playing happily with a child that she decided not to abort.
A father helping his transgendered daughter prepare for school in the morning.
To further encourage engagement, a microsite would be created that would allow people to take something of their own from the campaign. The site would allow millennials to create a personalized rendering of the campaign's logo, which they would then receive as an image do with as they like. An mock-up of how the site could function is displayed below.
Furthermore, if a visitor tried to write "Trump," "Clinton," or other politically motivated names, the site wouldn't produce a logo, and would instead confront them with a pop-up version of the campaign's anthem as a way to facilitate engagement.
As a way to inspire User-Generated content on social media, the campaign would also launch an experiential execution designed to encourage posting on websites like Instagram or Snapchat. This execution would involve placing messages on sidewalks in public places in the cities with the highest number of Millennials. These messages would guide Millennials on a short path, creating the expectation that at the end that they would find out who they're voting for. Upon reaching the end they would be surprised to find a mirror urging them to vote for themselves and those they care about. Below is an example of how this could function.
This execution would facilitate easy engagement with the campaign by providing millennials a hashtag to post with the selfies the mirrors would generate, creating a self-generating social media movement: as more and more photos of the mirrors appeared on social media, the mirrors would draw people to them to create their own selfies, which would in turn bolster the movement's presence on social media.
Voting, of course, requires registering to vote, and this is often the most complicated part of participating in a presidential election. Legislation governing voter registration varies wildly across states, and for the large number of millennials in college the distance between their home state and the state of their citizenship adds another layer of complexity. For citizens who are not particularly invested in the election process as a whole, these extra complications may well deter them from registering altogether. Because of this, to accomplish its goal the campaign would partner with a platform that facilitates registration and voting: Vote.org.
Campaign materials would drive consumers of it to the site, which would then help them register to vote and attain absentee ballots if necessary. For example, banners would accompany videos shown on YouTube directing anyone watching the video to Vote.org, and any social media or experiential materials would include links to the site or information about it.
Social Media Influencers:
To help the campaign gain traction on social media, we recommended partnering with a set of influencers who had large followings with millennials, but who also engaged with politically relevant issues enough that the campaign would feel genuine as content that they interacted with.
"Who Do You Vote For?" was presented to Zubi Advertising leadership on July 21st, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The next week we presented the campaign to the entire agency and they decided to adapt it, partnering with vote.org and producing a scaled-down version of the campaign shared through their own social media channels.
This video was posted to Zubi's Facebook page, and quickly become the second most-watched video the company has ever posted.