It’s always so rewarding when a brave, left-of-field campaign works brilliantly. This one by Special Group and Sweetshop director, Damien Shatford, has. It worked for the New Zealand elections. It achieved a rise of 24% in overseas enrolments and a 50% rise of upload of votes for NZ’s 2020 election. We all now know that turned out very, very well for New Zealanders.
This is its story. It began when nonpartisan initiative, Every Kiwi Vote Counts, approached Special Group with the task of trying to convince the 1 million Kiwis who live overseas to vote in the 2020 New Zealand election.
Special Group realised astutely that when it came to messing with elections, there was only one thing to do. The agency had to call in the professionals – Russians. Wonderful scripts were added to a terrific idea and then directing genius from Shatford was blended in.
A series of films resulted, and these were used to incite meddling on a daily basis, over an 18-day enrolment and voting window. Like any good meddler, the campaign’s Russian, Viktor, took to Facebook and other social platforms to influence. He reached Kiwis through social groups, mobile billboards in Kiwi-populated parts of foreign cities like London, as well as getting his exploits written up in The Guardian UK, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Australia, even SBS Russian.
Tracey Lee, founder & strategic lead, Every Kiwi Vote Counts, commented, “The inertia of overseas non-voters was so great that we really needed something provocative to wake them up. So, it was exciting and blood draining when Special Group came back with Viktor. I knew that this was going to cause some good trouble.”
Special Group executive creative director, Lisa Fedyszyn, added, “The response to the campaign has been amazing. To have a 24% jump in overseas enrolments, a 50% jump in online vote uploads and comments in social saying that it was the first time someone had voted in over 20 years and others voted because of Viktor, was phenomenal. In these times with more and more Kiwis returning to their homeland, having your say is as important as ever, and to see such a response was a great result for New Zealand democracy.”
Senior Account Manager & Producer: Erica Llorico