#HappyVoting Campaign: A review from a ‘young person’

(source of both pictures)

I think i’ve spoken before about how I am extremely passionate about politics, especially when it comes to engaging with young people. 

With the EU elections coming up on the 22nd May I wanted to talk about the #HappyVoting campaign they set up to engage with the YOUNG voters.

This is a marketing strategy set up to engage young people with European Parliament and the EU election. Below is the ‘viral’ video from #HappyVoting, Europe’s first non-institutional and large-scale voter-turnout campaign. The idea of the campaign is to reach a large percentage of Europe’s young people and encourage them to vote. 

This is the place to pause and watch the video below.

First things first – did that video make you want to vote? 
I personally found it irrelevant and un-engaging.

What relevance does the video have to European politics? & how is it explaining to me, a young person, the impact European Parliament has on my life? 

The Happy Voting Media Information sheet talks about how young people make up 20% of the EU’s population – half the election turnout for 2009. An indisputable large number. Yet rather than making a video that informs and educates young people on how the decision made in European parliament (EP) will effect them, #HappyVoting instead decided to be patronising and adhere to popular culture.

I personally think it is incredible condescending to think copying a ‘viral’ song will make young people vote. Believing that the only way to engage with young people is to take two of their ‘favourite channels’ entertainment and the internet without even providing information.

Us ‘young ins are not stupid’. We make decisions based on hard information and facts, just like adults

If you want young people to come out and vote you need to explain why.

If you want young people to come out and vote you need to make young people understand how decisions made in Parliament will affect them personally.

More importantly if you want young people to come out and vote you first need to explain how European politics & the EU actually works.
German MEP Ska Keller told EurActiv, “The main message is that your vote counts and that it makes a difference. It’s important to use whatever tool we have to bring the message across.” This statement strikes me as odd, because I think if you just got a number of MEP saying Kellers first point the video would be 10x better equipped in explaining why young people should vote!

This campaign fails in simply forgetting to explain the purpose of the video, although I doubt Socially Visually will agree with that. “By playing on entertainment and the sharing power of the Internet, the online video combines all the ingredients to get people excited about and involved in the European Elections.” 

I understand that engaging with young people is really hard. Past marketing techniques don’t often work because less people are using traditional forms of media i.e. reading newspapers, and we are surrounded by an abundance of information via the internet. This makes it hard for as many people to see ‘one’ thing. However viral videos are part of an emergent field in marketing that has recently taken off, especially when talking about young people. This makes the idea of #HappyVoting a good one, but they fell off the mark when their focus moved away from politics. 
In my mind this campaign failed to research what young people want to know, or even to consider the reasons why they don’t currently vote. Whilst I think the idea has some good thought behind it, as politics does need to engage with young people, the final product is a joke that is condescending to young people.

I really would love to know your thoughts on the video. 

Does it make you want to vote in the European Elections on the 22nd May?

If you really want to get young people voting it is organisations such as Rock the Vote & Bite the Ballot who deserve your time. These are two fantastic organisations who are actually working with young people and providing relevant information that young people want to hear. 
In other crazy and very exciting news, last Friday 25th April it was the UK Blog Awards evening at the Grove St Pauls. After you guys fantastically got me shortlisted in the Events & Education category I am so proud to say that IDS won the award for best individual Events blog
I have a post all about the evening & the experience coming out on Thursday!  

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