VMLY&R: New Zealand Electoral Commission’s Vote Ghost

People eating dinner round a table, with one of them dressed as a ghost

VMLY&R: New Zealand Electoral Commission’s Vote Ghost

Reminding all New Zealanders to make their voices heard

New Zealand is a world-leader in voting equality, as the first country to give women the vote. But by 2020, an alarming 50% of young and culturally diverse New Zealanders did not exercise their right to vote.

The solution to this problem was not to build a single mass campaign to drive awareness. Awareness wasn’t the problem – rather it was motivation that was needed to get young people voting. And these motivations needed to be as diverse as the target audience.

VMLY&R and New Zealand Electoral Commission’s media approach needed to be just as diverse and was necessarily fragmented across the many channels that our audiences consumed.

Through deep analysis of audience research and using proprietary media tools, VMLY&R created a large-scale integrated campaign, building content to address 18 emotional and cognitive barriers to voting.

All the campaign content needed to resonate with different sub-audiences, cultures, and languages. For effective use of channels, VMLY&R and New Zealand Electoral Commission needed to think big by thinking small. One size definitely wouldn’t fit all.

The campaign was built around a range of ideas – not just messages or channels, but different concepts – to change minds and encourage action.

The campaign let youth audiences know that if they didn’t take part in society by voting, they’re left out, invisible, unseen, and unheard. Essentially a Vote Ghost.

Through this large-scale but highly targeted creative and channel approach the results spoke for themselves. Over 18% more 18–24-year-olds turned out to vote in the 2020 General Election, the best youth voting turnout in a decade.