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Vote This Year

Infuencer relations | Media relations | PR strategy | Social media

How Rice PR encouraged disconnected young people to register to vote in the run up to the 2017 general election.

Social campaigns

Led by Joby Andrews who runs Refresh West and a number of pubs in Bristol, this client was a group of interest parties wanting to engage young voters.

Brief

To encourage young people to register to vote ahead of the 2017 general election by highlighting a campaign run by a Bristol publican providing a free pint in return for registering to vote. The aim was to get a simple, understandable message across to as many people as possible in a way they would understand.

Challenge

Young voters were disconnected from the voting process with national top down campaigns to encourage registration failing miserably. Under UK electoral law it is illegal to provide anyone with goods or services in exchange for a vote. This is not the case with voter registration, so using the pub as the “pouring station”, we used what we had at our disposal: beer. We had only three weeks before the election date.

Approach

Rice PR created the “Vote This Year Get Free Beer” campaign. The message was simple: It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it just matters that you vote. Using the fact that the media were in a period of purdah, Rice PR called a press conference at one of Joby’s Bristol pubs to launch the campaign with press and social content as well as photography and video. In order to enlist the support of pubs across the country we commissioned a journalist with vast experience in the pub trades to highlight the campaign.

Vote This Year, get your free pint for voting.

Results

While impact of the figures on the national registration and turn out for the election are still under debate, a last minute surge in people registering to vote saw a quarter of a million young people under 25 years old sign up on the last possible day before the general election. Cabinet Office figures show that a total of 622,000 people registered to vote on 22 May. Of these, 246,000 were under 25.  Young people were dominant among those registering, with 207,000 aged 25 to 34 – compared to just 10,000 people over the age of 65.

“Rice PR were instrumental in the success of the Vote This Year, Get Free Beer campaign. Without Sarah‘s input it wouldn’t have blown up anywhere near to the extent it did. It was an exciting whirlwind working with them, which in the end had the most amazing results.”
“They were able to mobilise a huge amount of noise and interest in the campaign within a very short time frame, using simple but effective tools to get people excited and, most importantly, act. Sarah in particular used her national, trade and local connections in the media and beyond to help spread the word about how to connect – whether you were a would-be voter or a pub owner wanting to get involved in the campaign itself. Highly recommended.”

Joby Andrews, owner Lazy Dog, Pipe and Slippers and Refresh West