Party leaders vs policy monsters: Vice, Heyday and JWT turn politics into a game for youth

With 34 percent of 18- to 24-years-olds not enrolled to vote, Vice, JWT and Heyday have teamed up to gamify politics in a bid to get the country’s youth to the polls.

Called ‘Battle to the Beehive’, the online game, which borrows from the Street Fighter aesthetic, is designed to drive youth engagement by conveying political battles in gaming language. It explores the electoral process, the parties and the politicians who fight against ‘policy monsters’, including transport, global warming, housing, the economy and education.

Players choose their political leader and then answer questions relating to enrolment and policy issues. The idea is to allow youth to be educated in a painless way.

Justin Barnes, executive creative director at JWT, says getting cut through to disengaged youth voters needs creativity.

Vice, as the media choice of young people, is the perfect champion of youth engagement. Letting people do battle against policy monsters seemed like the perfect way to get a difficult to engage the audience to participate and understand the power of their vote.”

Frances Morton, editor Vice New Zealand, says the game sits alongside Vice’s existing election coverage, designed to cut through the campaign rhetoric to the issues that matter most for young New Zealanders.

It includes the editorial series ‘For The Record’, that goes beyond key politicians’ promises to check how they actually vote in parliament. Vice sat down for a video interview with Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern, travelled the country asking young people their views on politics for the Viceland census, and its six-part video series ‘We Are New Zealand’ looks at identity and what it means to be a New Zealander today.

Vice has also teamed up with a number of local outlets to help drive young people to enrolment, with a range of offers up for grabs from Karen Walker, Laneway Festival, Brothers Beer, Good as Gold, Burger Burger, Eighthirty Coffee and many more.

‘Battle to the Beehive’ will be live until election day, with support through digital out-of-home, digital display, social media, and eDM marketing.

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