Did They Get The Vote?

It’s been a little bit over a week since the election, and I’m sure I’m one of many who is still processing what the results mean. On one hand, we have a president whose platform essentially undermines everything I am. On the other hand, however, weed is legal. Part of me thinks the timing is not a mere coincidence. But that’s not what we are here to talk about.

Before the election even happened, I felt bombarded by all of the pamphlets, e-mails, commercials, videos, and more telling us to go vote. It seemed like every day someone new was trying to get their “Go Vote!!!!!” (yes, I purposely put five exclamation points) message to reach as many people as possible. Anyone connected via Internet and/or television really had no way of not knowing about the election.

There were celebrity endorsed/featured promotion videos such as the two below, which was quite a good idea. A lot of people look up to specific celebrities, so by getting a wide range (i.e. Robert Downey Jr. and Kendall Jenner) to star in these videos, it was likely to resonate in a lot of people. And because these celebrities are role models, in theory, more people would be likely to vote.

Companies like Snapple and Jeep took to launching political ad campaigns, which received mixed review within my room. When we first saw the astronaut in the Snapple commercial, our initial thought was, “Who is trying to make us vote now?” Once we realized it was Snapple, the annoyance eased and the thought shifted to, “Oh, Snapple. That makes sense. This was clever,” simply because it seemed rather realistic for someone working at a polling location drinking a Snapple.

Jeep, however, had an opposite effect. As soon as we heard Cat Steven’s (Now known as Yusuf Islam) voice, we got excited and started singing along. All of that giddiness and good feelings immediately vanished with the final seconds of commercial, though. We yelled at the TV, “Are you kidding me??? You too?!?” We don’t watch TV silently in my room. Each time the Jeep commercial would return, it generated audible sounds of annoyance and frustration after a few seconds of being tricked into singing along to Cat again.

Apparently, there was a vote on four political ad campaigns, and Jeep was the winner. Why? Because their message was unifying instead of polarizing. In second place came Audi, third place was Tecate beer, and fourth place was GoDaddy. All four videos are below

GoDaddy received comments such as, “I am so tired of seeing media associated with the election. I get that it’s a great event for companies to capitalize on, but honestly it’s all tiresome and, at the bottom line, lacks true creativity,” and “It was an annoying advertisement. The overlay on the face makes the ad look cheap and childish. Focus more on how great the price is to host the domain for 1$ for a whole year…that’s good. Not the political reference and stuff, people are tired of hearing that.”

Tecate received mixed review with some praising like, “I like that Tecate calls attention to one of the most ridiculous political proposals and pokes fun at it in a way that garners cooperation as opposed to bigotry and fear. Congrats to this commercial, I really enjoyed it!” They also, however, received some backlash, “In bad taste. Making light of a serious, dangerous, oppressive situation. Really doesn’t make me want to buy the product and even tell others not to support it.”

Audi, on the other hand, received great reviews. People said things such as, “I thought this ad was hilarious, and it surprised me because primarily I thought it was regarding voting and it was going to end up being about that, two people fighting over voting on different tickets. It was incredibly funny and it certainly kept me entertained and glued to the set. Its the kind of ad I would share on social media.” That last sentence is the culminating factor of this blog post.

Above all else, Jeep was the clear winner with reviews like, “I really liked the fact that Jeep went out of its way in this ad to show that Jeep brand can be used for anyone, in any condition, and I like that it said at the end that it is what unites us. Awesome ad.” Why was Jeep so successful? Because they took the approach of reminding us that despite all of our differences, we are still one large community. And that is a message with some serious power.

And yet, did all of this advertisement work? Well, that’s really for you to decide, but my personal opinion is no, it did not work. According to Heavy, an estimated 57.9% of eligible voters voted in 2016, but this number changes with different sources. It is good news that a majority of eligible voters participated in the election, but it shouldn’t be something out of the ordinary. It is not good news, however, that the turnout has been on a decreasing run for quite some time now. According to CNN, this past election turnout was a 20 year low.

Why did this happen when so many forces worked so hard to get voters to show up? Well, my theory is it was due to the bombardment of advertisements and promotional videos played a role. It is important to note that people don’t vote for personal reasons such as not believing in voting or simply not having a way to get to a voting poll, but I am talking about the people who were affected by the media being discussed. I think a reason turnout decreased is fortunate people just got so annoyed with everything that they decided not to vote. I call these people fortunate because regardless of the result, their life would not be affected.

So, what I am really trying to get at here is that though marketing may not have played that big of a role in the election itself, it is definitely time for the strategy of keeping a message in people’s face 24/7 probably isn’t the best way to go. I am sure it will be more efficient and cost saving to promote your message/product in a way that makes a mental impression, rather than forcing your way into someone’s memory. That way consumers can help you by passing on positive reviews to other consumers, willingly.

5 comments

  1. Aditya Murali · ·

    Great post! I definitely think there is a difference between actors/celebrities telling us to vote, and these companies putting out election themed ads. The actors/celebrities were definitely pushing us to vote for Hillary (indirectly, if not directly), which to me was cool because I got to see all my favorite personas rallying behind the same candidate. The company advertisements, on the other hand, definitely were for personal gain rather than sending a message about voting or about the election in general. I think these companies used this unique, ‘once every 4 years’ event to create an ad that would give them a lot of attention and hopefully drive sales to their product/service. But to answer to the celeb videos, I just don’t think it was enough. I’m sure it worked, but there was another half of the population that was so set in their ways and opinions that no video could sway them otherwise.

  2. Austin Ellis · ·

    Really good post. I remember the first time I saw the Jeep ad, and feeling very happy that they had chosen a unifying approach. It is difficult to make an ad in reference to the election without the chance of alienating a group of consumers, as seen in the comments about Tecate. Jeep, in my opinion, succeeded. The celebrity calls to action were pretty interesting this year; in particular I liked Aziz Ansari’s. As he points out, it is not a good sign if it takes a celebrity telling you to vote in order to convince you to vote, however, I am sure these people exist. Great job.

  3. kdphilippi18 · ·

    Great post. While I had seen many of the celebrity commercials urging people to vote, I hadn’t seen the others. I stopped watching most TV and commercials in Oct/Nov because like you mentioned I was feeling bombarded by all of them. I think you make a great point about the lack of turnout – many people definitely felt overwhelmed by everything and felt like their vote didn’t matter or that the results wouldn’t have an effect on their lives either way. Hopefully, the low turnout and the results are a good lesson to everyone who didn’t vote. Clearly, their votes did matter and the results might just impact their lives. I would also say that we need to take a look at our voting system and address the inherent problems in the electoral college that make people feel that their votes won’t count because they live in a blue or a red state.

  4. Nice post. I think the “get out the vote” is a great way for brands to make a non-controversial PSA. But maybe its getting overdone these days.

  5. vicmoriartybc · ·

    I admit to focusing too much on social media (which seems to be mostly fake anyway) and not enough on TV during the days before the election, so I did not see any of these commercials before reading your post. I especially like the #TecateBeerWall one. I think it’s also interesting to examine how effective the candidates’ ads themselves were. If Hillary had placed more ads in states she surprisingly lost, like Wisconsin, would she have had a better turnout there? Or are the days of effective political ads behind us, and now candidates should only focus on social media marketing? I suppose we may have to wait until 2020 to find out.

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