IEC campaign targets voter apathy
Hopes that IEC campaign will stir up emotions in South Africans last felt during the World Cup.
IT IS hoped that a campaign by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), appealing to the pride of South Africans and playing on emotions stirred up by the World Cup, will encourage voters to vote this week.
The last two local elections saw only 48% of registered voters make their mark.
This year’s "Love your South Africa" campaign, commissioned by the IEC, shows individuals in a community doing small things to make their environment better. The message is that one person can make a difference, and it is intended to counter the apathy and protest mentality being seen among dissatisfied voters.
The IEC has managed to push registered voters up to 24- million, but if Wednesday’s voting pattern stays true to form, only half of these people will actually vote. There is concern among political commentators that some dissatisfied African National Congress supporters may also choose not to exercise their vote because they do not see an alternative.
Advertising agency TBWA\ Hunt\Lascaris, who brought voters the "Make Your Mark" campaign for the IEC, was tasked with making voting appealing, especially to the younger generation. Damon Stapleton, executive creative director of the agency, said: "The question we asked was how to spur people to action without having a specific cause, and how to address youth apathy. People just do not see voting as important. Perhaps they do not feel they can make a difference or maybe they cannot be bothered. Either way, we had to get them to give a damn."
Mr Stapleton said they worked on the premise that "Joe Public is not about lofty ideals, he is about being able to get to work, turn on the tap and care for his family and community ... who gets put in charge of your garbage disposal, your power and water and municipal road maintenance and so on, is important because it affects how you can function and carry on with your life".
Creating a campaign that did not deal with issues and reached across all income brackets was difficult, so the team opted to develop one that aimed to "humanise" the country.
They kept in mind that a voter’s perception of what it meant to be South African could differ within cities and regions. They made use of all media, from posters, billboards, TV and social media, making use of celebrities on radio to encourage people to vote. "The message was the same, to show that you love SA by voting."
News Source: Business Day - Chantelle Benjamin
Related link: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=142806
Keywords: IEC campaign, Make Your Mark
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