As the November 8 election looms, the Democratic and Republican parties will be searching for those undecided voters, hoping to tip the scales in their favor. While the party apparatus is looking for an edge, organizations outside the political spectrum are increasingly taking advantage of the excitement.
The Viber messaging app has used the election to promote their service and offer concrete information about politics.
The company’s involvement in the election is being set up in a few phases, starting with a “sticker pack,” with comical Trump, Obama and Clinton images. Users can download the sticker pack and send comical caricatures of politicians, Obama dropping a mic or a Trump sticker titled #YUGE.
Viber has also partnered with The Huffington Post; users who download the sticker pack are automatically signed up for that publication’s Election Public Chat, which sends out real-time updates and analysis of the campaign.
According to Viber’s Head of North America Scott Nelson, HuffPo’s election channel on Viber increased from 8-10K followers to around 66K following the release of the sticker pack. Nelson also noted that subsequent phases would include on-the-ground and grassroots initiatives, including a mural in Brooklyn that depicts Trump and Clinton having a conversation over the messaging app.
While Viber is relatively new to the political space, another nonpolitical brand, Peanuts Worldwide, is not. The iconic Peanuts gang, the brain-child of the late Charles M. Schulz, has been engaged in political campaigns for decades.
Red, White & Blog spoke with Mrs. Schulz about the approach the company looks to take. The main angle is voter turnout. Peanuts has partnered with "Rock the Vote" in the “Peanuts Rocks The Vote” initiative to drive voter registration.
“We feel that politics is a serious issue, and that voters need to be informed,” Mrs. Schulz told RW&B. “Voter registration is the first step.” The comic-book characters are involved in a mock election online and once you vote, you are prompted to register.
While there is a benefit to these companies in such an intriguing election cycle, there is an added plus. These initiatives increasingly engage voters and make the gears of our democracy turn a little faster.