‘Voting is Hot AF’: Saatchi & Saatchi uses sexy language to lure youngsters to the polls

‘Voting is Hot AF’: Saatchi & Saatchi uses sexy language to lure youngsters to the polls

In case you haven’t heard, the UK has an election this year. In that, we’re not exceptional. Around 49% of the world’s people will head to the polls this year – a historical high – as at least 64 countries host elections. However, going in the opposite direction, turnout in many countries is lower than ever. And so it’s fascinating to see Saatchi & Saatchi debut a non-partisan campaign to drive young voters to the polls.

Youth turnout has historically been lower than that of other demographics, with a third of the UK population up to the age of 34 abstaining from elections. The new campaign aims to engage 18- to 24-year-olds and remind them to register, remember their ID, and turn out on 4 July.

Titled Just Vote, the campaign is based on the idea that voting makes you “hotter” based on a survey that says 40% of this age group find regular voters more attractive. It is based around vibrant and playful OOH (out-of-home) adverts and social media-led spots and debuts across the UK this week.

The assets all centre around a varied design world built on the founding principle that ‘hotness’ is both subjective and abstract, just like the decisions we each make at the polls. Every interpretation of ‘hotness’ is celebrated, just as every vote should be.

Saatchi & Saatchi have brought this concept to life by reimagining the traditional ‘X’ on a ballot paper as a visual shorthand to symbolise attraction. The designers have taken this idea and run with it, reflecting on modern dating culture to explore what attraction means to different people while also nodding to the X-rated quality of sexy, fun times.

Echoing the language and social tropes of this culture, headlines include “Get polled”, “Giving AF is hot AF”, “Talk turnout to me”, and “18+ for a reason”.

Why voting is hot

The new research which inspired the work was conducted with YouGov and also found:

  • More than half of those surveyed (52%) felt that regular voters were more intelligent, while 35% said voters were more trustworthy
  • When asked about the dating behaviours of voters as compared to non-voters, a fifth (20%) felt that non-voters were more likely to be rude to a waiter, while 21% felt that non-voters would spend a first date talking about themselves
  • 18% felt that non-voters would be more likely to commit the ultimate dating faux-pas and ghost you
  • Those who voted were considered more likely (17%) to take care of the bill on a date

“Finding the right message at the right moment to influence real behaviour change is when advertising is at its most powerful,” reflects Franki Goodwin, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi. “It’s been extremely interesting mining dating and internet culture to find a real-world upside to young people engaging in politics – a place that can often feel like the least attractive, least youthful place on earth, and that’s not good for anyone.”

Richard Huntington, chair and chief strategy officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, describes the ads as “the democratic equivalent of ‘if in an emergency, smash glass’, because only half of 18- to 24-year-olds now vote, and that’s an emergency”.

And Mark Borkowski, founder of Borkowski, which handles PR for the campaign, says: “Elections in the UK bring out the best in the great British media. Just Vote unites the passion and innovation of long-time friend and partner Dale Vince, along with the creative genius of Saatchi & Saatchi, who always lead the zeitgeist of behavioural change. To generate cut through amongst the noise of all vying for the hearts, minds and eyeballs of our young people is not an easy task, but one that it has never been more important to pursue.”

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