MEDDLE IN THE NEW ZEALAND ELECTION

Gold Spike

Case Film

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TitleMEDDLE IN THE NEW ZEALAND ELECTION
BrandEVERY KIWI VOTE COUNTS
Product / ServiceEVERY KIWI VOTE COUNTS
CategoryA07. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
EntrantSPECIAL GROUP Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Idea Creation SPECIAL GROUP Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
PR POEM GROUP Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production SWEETSHOP Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Post Production LIQUID STUDIOS Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Additional Company LIQUID STUDIOS Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

Credits

Name Company Position
Tracey Watkins Every Kiwi Vote Counts Founder
Tony Bradbourne Special Group New Zealand CEO/CCO
Michael Redwood Special Group New Zealand Managing Partner
Heath Lowe Special Group New Zealand Executive Design Director
Rory Gallery Special Group New Zealand Head of Strategy
Lisa Fedyszyn Special Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
Jonathan McMahon Special Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
Till Dittmers Special Group New Zealand Art Director
Jack Gravatt Special Group New Zealand Copywriter
Daisy Conroy-Botica Special Group New Zealand Social & Brand Strategist
Bonnie Shum Special Group New Zealand Account Director
Sally Lankshear Special Group New Zealand Senior Producer
Jo Kelly Special Group New Zealand Senior Producer
Hamish Kuka Special Group New Zealand Graphics
Tracey Lee Independent Strategic Lead
Matt Holmes Poem PR
Erica Llorico Poem PR
Brogan Lipman Poem Social Media Strategist
Angus Roberts Poem Social Media Strategist
Damien Shatford Sweetshop Director
Adam Luxton Sweetshop Director Of Photography
Ben Dailey Sweetshop Executive Producer
Kate Roydhouse Sweetshop Executive Producer
Luke Haigh Independent Editor
Dave Gibson Independent Colourist
Troy Goodall Independent Photographer

Background

Only 1 in 10 overseas New Zealanders voted in their country’s 2017 election. And with an estimated one million Kiwis living overseas, that’s approximately 20% of our country’s population, not having their say. Once they could claim it was too hard, but with eVoting there’s really no practical excuse. So, to get overseas voters to act, we needed a memorable and effective approach that could explain how easy, and important, is was to actually vote. 

Describe the strategy

Of the one million New Zealanders living overseas, the majority live in Australia, with the remainder primarily in the UK, US, Canada, Europe and Asia. With such a scattered target we needed great reach, that spoke to these overseas New Zealanders, along with their friends and family, as well as influencers. And in a way that current and shareable.  That’s why we decided to create a social media led campaign.  From the day online registration opened, and over the course of 18 days until election day, we continuously targeted pages overseas Kiwis were most likely to frequent, from pages like “Kiwis in Aussie” and “Kiwis in London” which had a combined 100k followers, to major New Zealand news sites. And if we have learned anything from America’s 2016 elections, it’s that elections can be influenced by certain foreign people, placing influential and shareable posts on social media.

Describe the execution

In order to effectively influence overseas non-voters we turned to the experts of online election influencing. Yes, we turned to the Russians. On 30 September 2020 (the day online registrations opened), our spokesperson, Viktor, kicked off the social campaign calling for overseas Kiwis to “meddle”, explaining that the process was easy and there was, “No need for a sneaky VPN.”  Then, every day for 18 days, until election day, Viktor posted videos talking about how he “planned to hack… away to convince overseas Kiwis to vote” and or “touch data base… I mean… touch base” in order to get everyone to vote. His posts talked about important statics and called on overseas Kiwi celebrities to get involved. He even appeared in outdoor billboards in heavily Kiwi-populated cities such as London, to spread the word about how easy it was to “meddle.”

List the results

Like all good Russian meddlers, Viktor got results. The campaign helped achieve the highest turnout of overseas voters on record, with a 42% increase in overseas voting. With over 80 million global impressions, the Electoral Commission said, “Every Kiwi Vote Counts undoubtedly mobilized resident overseas voters.”  Viktor’s influencing was talked about and reposted by the likes of ShitYouShouldCareAbout (2.4 million followers) and former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark. And overseas Kiwis thanked Viktor on for convincing them to vote, with one voting for the first time in 28 years.  Overseas votes also disproportionately contributed to a historic Maori Party seat gain, with an increase of 60%, and contributed to the largest shift in electoral seats since 1999 - with the Northland Electorate seeing a change in party seat for the first time since 1938.  

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