Civic Nation Gets Murderous with Voting Message

I dig murder mysteries. The expected twists, the suspense—I know I’m not alone! The American public does too. Think about how many crime and mystery shows there are! Every season there is a new one and even if it’s bad, it never fails to catch the eye as we scroll through the channels. Civic Nation realized this and they capitalized on it.

During a past election season, the creative agency Phenomenon created spots for nonprofit group Civic Nation—which was launching its #VoteTogether campaign aiming to get young people to vote. Phenomenon created two spots, with one being “Jenny’s Dead” which delivered its message unexpectedly.

The ad centered on a murder and friends trying to solve it, but becoming more suspicious of one another as they realized they were trapped. Right when it climaxed it revealed it was a murder-mystery party and the friends had to cut it short because the polls were closing. They had to vote. It was an unanticipated approach… and a great twist.

Jenny's Dead Voting Ad

The Good

This ad won in a landslide on these issues…

1. Originality – Election season blows. Not because we undervalue its importance, but because of the constant bombardment of political ads. The older I’ve gotten the more polarized and angry they have become. They’re a turnoff and may even keep people from the polls. But this ad won’t. It was an unexpected approach that was original, fresh, non-partisan, and gripping—just like a good mystery. Even if the reveal was a letdown (voting is not fun), the message came through clean to a captivated audience.

2. Important Message – Voting is our civic duty. Yes, elections get vindictive. But at its core voting is a fundamental and pertinent part of democracy. It’s important, and this ad did not misfire on that point. “I feel confident,” said Zeppa Kreager, creative director at Civic Nation, in this press release, “that with [Phenomenon’s] contribution we are going to be able recruit more people from across the country… and make voting more fun and inclusive long-term.”

3. Target Audience – This was both a positive and negative of the ad. Its target audience was the youth and getting them to vote. This ad was a perfect way to grab that demographic’s attention.

4. No Celebrity – It lacked a celebrity telling you how important your vote was. Yay!

Civic Nation 2018 Voting Ad

The Bad

This ad lost key demographics with these hiccups…

1. Target Audience – Again, this was both positive and negative. This ad was geared toward the youmg, not the old. I hope older voters appreciated the ad and were not turned off by its “voting is fun” and “voting parties” stretch, but my worry is they might have been.

2. Length – I was unfazed by it, but I’ve read enough reviews where they stated it might be a detriment to the ad. This ad was geared toward a generation that’s attention is no longer than 30 seconds, so the build up may have made viewers tune out and not welcome its creativity.

3. Stretch – Is voting really fun? No. It’s important, but not “oh boy!” Is voting a good thing to center a party around? No… unless you want fisticuffs.

The Takeaway

Civic Nation’s “Jenny’s Dead” was original, unexpected, and—though long—featured an important message relayed responsibly. For a murder mystery that was politically motivated, there wasn’t much blood. My type of mystery!

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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