By Tony Hymes
The election season is nearing its apex, marking the homestretch of nearly two years of organizing, campaigning and communicating — on Nov. 6, American voters will head to the polls across the country. Whatever your political leanings, there is one consensus among the parties: Get out there and vote.
Political messaging comes in many forms, from TV ads to billboards to signs stuck in front yards. Each candidate from the local wards to the White House encourages citizens to participate in the democratic process. But considering the importance of voting, other groups have joined into the effort to make sure that everyone makes it to the polls — and they're taking to the digital out-of-home airwaves to do it.
"Rock The Vote" is perhaps the best known of the campaigns focusing on mobilizing young people to vote, and reminding them that their vote makes a huge difference. Founded more than 20 years ago, and aided by a conglomeration of groups such as the PVBLIC Foundation and Judge Group, Rock The Vote creates messaging that is relevant to young people, who often feel detached from public policy discussions. Let's face it, it's hard to get an 18-year-old fired up about Medicare. Yet through their unique and dynamic content revolving around pop culture, Rock The Vote encourages voter registration for young people, connects them to the issues, and makes sure they remember to go vote on election day, in every election.
This election season, the theme for Rock the Vote is "We Will."
"Rock the Vote is changing history this year with its bold message of youth empowerment to vote," said Sergio Fernández de Córdova, chairman and co-founder of PVBLIC Foundation. "In support, PVBLIC has aggregated an unprecedented amount of media space for Rock The Vote. We at PVBLIC strongly support the notion that democratic participation in this country should be encouraged, embraced and celebrated."
Since Rock The Vote is a non-profit campaign, they search out donated advertising space in order to spread their message. They approached The Judge Group to help, and DOOH was a prime target for Anne Judge, founder and managing principal of the Group, which helps firms market through DOOH, shopper engagement and mobile techs.
"Together with PVBLIC Foundation, we sought and secured presence on some well worn paths of young people, segmented and integrated the most dynamic media platforms of our day and harnessed the power of DOOH's supreme flexibility in real time for real time issues this Election Year," Judge said.
One of the DOOH avenues Judge went down was talking to Jessica Coates, national sales manager for NEC Display Solution's VUKUNET, who reached out to VUKUNET members to see who would be able to meet Rock The Vote's requirements.
And iCASHtv, a DOOH network with screens at check cashing businesses, and Park Cast Network, a DOOH network with screens in public parking facilities — both operating in major DMAs across the nation, key to Rock The Vote's efforts — stepped up.
"From the very inception of the iCASHtv Network three years ago, we have understood that we are a key touchpoint within our communities," said Sheldon Silverman, CEO of iCASHtv. "Rock The Vote is a perfect campaign for the iCASHtv Network. The multiethnic consumer is a focus for both political parties, and voter registration and activation is a cornerstone to the U.S. political system, no matter ideology."
Joe Matriss, managing director of Park Cast Network, agreed. "When Jessica approached us about the Rock The Vote campaign, there was no question. We have always said that we are an active part of the communities we operate in, and we immediately signed up to provide their message to our on-the-go audience."
Launching this week, Rock The Vote's "We Will" campaign will go up nationwide, and will run through election day. There is still time to get involved to help to spread the message, and there are always opportunities to use your DOOH reach to help promote non-profit causes, Silverman and Matriss said.
"Joe Matriss and I have long championed the concept of DOOH as a PSA and community outreach channel," Silverman added. "As CEOs of ... networks, we understand the importance and impact our consumer-facing channels can have on the community. We urge other DOOH Networks to include PSAs in their deployments."
Tony Hymes is a writer currently living in Paris who has extensively covered the digital signage industry both online and offline, having produced major reports distributed in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.
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