‘Dear America, please vote’: Kiwi creative exports Ben Polkinghorne and Scott Kelly raising funds to launch US election campaign

Former Colenso creatives Ben Polkinghorne and Scott Kelly (now at Weiden+Kennedy in London) have launched a slightly unconventional crowd-funding initiative, called Dear America.

The pair is looking to raise funds to launch a TV ad in a US state with low voter turnout.

“This is born out of the frustration around this being the single biggest decision in the world at the moment, and about the entire world not having a say,” says Polkinghorne.

“Without getting too cheesy, Scott and I believe ideas can change things for the better. We don’t know if this will work, but we were sick of just feeling like we were standing on the sidelines as such a big thing was happening in the world. We felt powerless. We were looking for an idea that could have an impact and we finally cracked what we think is a super interesting idea, less than a month out from the election.”

Polkinghorne explains that the aim is not to push one candidate or the other but rather to ensure that as many Americans as possible exercise their right to vote.

At the last US election, 38.2 percent of eligible adults did not vote in the election, which is somewhat disconcerting given how much influence the US has over the rest of the world.

Polkinghorne says that while the rest of the world might not be able to vote in the US elections, the rest of the world can play a role in encouraging as many Americans as possible to cast a ballot at what is turning into a very important election for everyone on the planet.

“It’s fairly ambitious,” he admits. “And I know every man and his dog is doing something at the moment, but I think we’re different.” 

The crowd-funding initiative is currently hosted on Indiegogo with a flexible goal of £8,000.

“We’re starting small but dreaming big,” Polkinghorne says.  

“Our goal of £8,000 will pay for 30 ads running in off-peak time in a single state. We’ve picked Nevada where 42.8 percent of voters didn’t vote in the 2012 election. Not only that, but it’s an important swing state.”

All money raised will go toward buying media, with the team behind the initiative footing the production costs.  

At the time of publishing, £130 had been contributed to the initiative.   

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