Hydrogen Sees Humanity in Washington Votes

LOS ANGELES Independent Hydrogen has launched a campaign on behalf of the Washington State Association of County Auditors encouraging residents to “make their votes count” on Nov 8.

The TV, radio and print effort, entitled “Don’t let your vote down,” “gives each vote a human form,” said Jason Wood, associate creative director at the Seattle shop. In each English-, Spanish- and Chinese-language execution, two-legged “votes” are depicted happily hanging out with—or desperately searching for—their respective citizen.

In one TV spot, running statewide in both 30- and 60-second versions, a man wearing a “Megan Roberts’ vote” T-shirt rushes into a wedding ceremony just as the bride and groom kiss. Seeing this, the man turns away in dismay, as if he has lost the only love he’ll ever know. As he mopes off, the bride holds up a nearly identical white T-shirt—this one, emblazoned with her new last name. “Don’t let your vote down,” a voiceover urges. “Tell us when you change your name.”

The personification of votes helps people understand their value, Wood said, and the importance of notifying the county auditor’s office prior to a move, name change or extended trip. “Your vote is more than just a piece of paper, it’s an extension of you,” he explained.

Rotating print ads, appearing in newspapers throughout Washington’s 39 counties, feature the same concept and tagline. Ballot-inspired graphics, however, are county-specific, based on the state’s four ballot styles, Wood said. Other campaign components include a Washington State Association of County Auditors logo, brochure and Web site.

This is the first time Washington county auditors have banded together for a marketing effort, according to Hydrogen president Bill Fritsch. The demand for a unified effort, he said, originated in the wake of the state’s 2004 gubernatorial election; that voting process led to intense electoral-system scrutiny and an unprecedented hand recount.

Rather than address past accusations, Fritsch said, the current campaign is meant to “educate people about what they need to do to make sure their vote is counted” in future elections.

According to Hydrogen, the campaign was funded in part by a Federal Help America Vote Act grant. A media budget was not available.