Electoral Commission uses real Kiwis to fight democracy inaction, focuses on the youth

There was a fair bit of concern after the last election, with the 74.2 percent turn out the lowest since 1887 (the highest was 93.5 percent in 1946 and 1949). So the Electoral Commission is aiming to improve that with a campaign via Saatchi & Saatchi—and it’s even roped in Lorde to try and convince the young’uns to tick the box on September 20. 

As the website says: 

No matter who we are, where we live, or where we’re from, we are all equal on election day.

We want all New Zealanders to think about why voting matters, to think about what it means for them, their family and their community. We want them to enrol, and we want them to vote on September 20.

The main 45 second ad was created after 30 New Zealanders were brought together to talk about the importance of voting. The ads didn’t use any actors. 

“How many hundreds of millions of people from around our troubled world would give anything to be a Kiwi with a say in our way of life? Yet, try pressing that message onto non-voters and they’ll turn their backs even more,” says Antonio Navas, executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. “We’ve taken a subtle, nuanced approach into a very complex territory, empowering all Kiwis to use the power they have for good and gently reminding them not to squander it.”

According to Canta, “339,353 eligible voters between the age of 18-24 are on the electoral roll, which is around 77 percent, and the rate of youth voter turnout has been declining since 2002, so there is a definite slant towards getting the attention of that segment in the ads, on the Facebook page and with the website www.ivotenz.org.nz.

But as NZTA’s Rachel Prince said in a presentation about behaviour change, “as government we are very often selling a message and a product that the public don’t want to buy”, and earnest, serious messages often seem to lead to a case of MEGO, so getting Lorde on board to talk about voting—even though she’s not old enough to—seems like a smart ploy to tempt that group back to the polls. 

But if everyone’s worried about low voter turnout, why not just return to a purer, Athenian style democracy and “let a random subset of the citizenry make reasoned decisions that best express the national will“. If it works for a jury, maybe it could work for voting.  

The Orange Guy is still there as the Electoral Commission’s mascot to talk about the important but boring election things, like how to join the electoral roll or explaining how the MMP system works. 

Here’s the Electoral Commission’s release:

More non-voters than ever before say they don’t feel like their vote is worth anything, or that their opinion matters.

It’s a trend that concerns the Electoral Commission, and the reason for a new campaign to help connect New Zealanders with the power of their vote.

“We are lucky to live in a strong democracy where we all get to play a part,” says Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden. “Our democracy is important, every single vote is important, and every New Zealander’s voice deserves to be heard.” 


Electoral Commission:

Chief Electoral Officer: Robert Peden

Manager Communications and Education: Anastasia Turnbull

National Manager, Enrolment Services: Murray Wicks

Corporate Services Manager, Enrolment Services: Rex Arrell

Saatchi and Saatchi:

Executive Creative Director: Antonio Navas

Senior Copywriter: David Sylvester

Senior Art Director: Arnya Karaitiana

Senior Art Director: Watchara Tansrikeat

Senior Designer: Ross Davies

Senior Designer: Rob Flynn

Studio Manager: Tias Somers

Senior Digital Creative: Neill McAlpine

Front-end Developer: Georgy Malanichev

Back-end Developer: Dmitry Shumkov

Digital Producer: Matt Couston

Digital Production Director: Lorraine Guerin

Technical Director: Matt Skinner

Flash Developer: Steven Ashby

Digital Producer: Tim Turner

Digital Designer: Megan Ying

Digital Designer: Francis Wu

Digital Producer: Rugen Du Bray

Senior Strategist: Sarah Hodgetts

Business Director: Tim Dixon

Account Director: Jen Murphy

Senior Account Manager: Rachael Williams

TV Producer: Amy Hansen

Production Company: Exit Films

Director: Greg Wood

Executive Producer: Declan Cahill

Post-Production: Perceptual Engineering

Editor: Steve Cox

Composer: Peter Hobbs

Sound Mix: Factory Studios

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