22 Nov 2018

US midterms: what was behind the surge in young voters?

At the US midterm elections this past week, an estimated 113 million people headed out to vote. This ranks as the highest turnout for a non-presidential election in US history, and a large number of this voter influx was young people. Interestingly, aside from Taylor Swift and her renowned Insta Story, some of the key players behind this youth mobilisation were cause-related campaign groups – but how did they pull it off? With some well-judged content and a smart distribution strategy, of course:

  • Instead of appearing to preach with ‘issues based’ content, they went more or less messaging-free, instead simply encouraging young people to vote.
  • This non-partisan approach still led to success for the Democrats, as the campaign groups had confidence in young people to support their policies at the ballot box.
  • They created content featuring recognisable faces and funny scripts, engaging with Gen Z and millennial viewers on their level.
  • They used a cost-effective distribution strategy, casting aside the expensive TV ads of the past. Instead, they partnered with youth-centric platforms like Funny Or Die, directly communicating their message to a young audience.

Here’s a little look at a couple of the best examples we saw in the run-up to the election:

This clip ‘My First Time’ from the anti-gun campaign group, March For Our Lives, features a host of huge stars, from Chadwick Boseman to Scarlett Johansson and even Chris Evans (not the ginger one). In this classic piece of easily clickable content, the celebs let us in on their “first times” – although we suspect it might not be what you assume.

The environmental organisation, the NRDC, stepped further out of the box with the clip ‘Non-Voters Anonymous’, while using some slightly less familiar famous faces. It depicts a support group for non-voters, smartly informing young people on everything they could need to know about how to vote, but doing so in a funny way – so we’re laughing and learning. The dream!

So, at a particularly volatile time, this surge in political awareness and engagement among young people shows that youth audiences are looking for the right cause – and we can help you connect with them. Sound enticing? Find out more here.