(Disclaimer: Everyone has their own opinion on voting, and everyone is entitled to this. Also, this was an article that I wrote a little before Election day so it’s from last month since it’s now December. Enjoy!)
As Election Day is getting closer and closer, many people are being encouraged to register to vote and vote early if you can. It seems as if going on social media you can’t scroll by without seeing a post about #IVoted or some celebrity urging you to cast yours as soon as possible. These celebrities include Hailey Bieber, Ayesha and Stephen Curry, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Jennifer Aniston and more who want to remind their audience. Even Instagram, Spotify, and Snapchat have launched their own voting campaigns for their millions of users on how to register and learn more information.
But as many well known actors, actresses, and others in the industry endorse this, brands such as Nike, Macy’s, Foot Locker, Under Armour and 700 other companies signed up for “Time To Vote.” According to Business for America, “Time to Vote” is “a movement where more than 400 companies across the country came together to make sure all of their employees had the time to vote.” On their website it also states, “Our goal for 2020 is to grow participation to include more than 1,000 companies.” But are brands doing this because they really care about their consumers heading to the polls, or is this a good marketing strategy to get more coverage and exposure to their company?
There are three brands that actually stood out in terms of creating and producing original products relating to encouraging consumers to vote and use their voice. Patagonia went viral within the last couple of weeks after a user on Twitter @CoreyCiorciari posted a picture of the tag he had on his shorts. On the tag it said, “Vote The A**holes Out.” Since then, everyone started reposting it and has made headlines such as on USA Today, Esquire, Business Insider, CNN, Abc27, and more. The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard claims that he has been using this quote when he is talking politicians who don’t believe in climate change since Patagonia’s mission as a whole is to save our planet, become carbon neutral by 2025, make polyester thread from oils, and so much more. This made a lot of people who don’t even purchase from Patagonia themselves question if this was a good marketing target because if it was, then it definitely worked since it went viral on social media and to the news.
Marc Jacobs is another brand that has not been very high in popularity within the last couple of years as many people usually look to other luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, etc. But this didn’t mean that Marc Jacobs didn’t want to still catch people’s eye. They have released a traveler bag called “The Tote Bag Marc Jacobs” in several different colors and edits such as teddy material, a Peanuts X Marc Jacobs collab, Madga Archer X Marc Jacobs collab, most recently, a patch that you can attach right onto your bag. Since the words “The Tote Bag” is written very clearly on the front of the bag, it catches the attention of whoever walks by with the bold words. But people can now buy a “V” patch to put directly over the “T” in “Tote” and make it now say “The Vote Bag.” Not only is this extremely clever, but Marc Jacobs says on their website when you are about to purchase this patch that with every $10 received from this will be donated to When We All Vote. WWAV is a “non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing participation in every election and closing the race and age voting gap” according to the Marc Jacobs website.
After visiting the website, it also tells you how many people viewed the item and the day that this was being written, it says that 788 people recently viewed this item. Almost 800 people are probably looking at this a day and purchasing it since it is only $15. Turning their classic bag into a statement about voting is a smart way to market to those who really want to endorse voting themselves. Whether you’re going to get groceries, running some errands, or just need this bag for traveling, there is no doubt that people will definitely see the V and probably be encouraged to vote themselves.
To continue supporting voters, H&M launched their own collection called “H&M Votes X Blank Artist Collab.” This was not only a way for increasing voter participation, but just like Marc Jacobs, you are able to showcase that you endorse voting right on your shirt, hoodie, or long sleeve. According to the H&M website, they “teamed up with seven American artists to encourage voters for this presidential election.” The names of these artists are given credit on the section of their website as well and it is claimed that they are limited edition for this voting season. There are several pieces of clothing with colorful designs such as “Take It To The Polls” and “Get Up! Stand Up! Go Vote!” written across the front. It is a subtle yet effective way to get people to do it. It is less about being a political statement and more of using creative work to empower those to want to make a change. The collection itself is also very inexpensive ranging from as little as $17.99 for a shirt, to $39.99 for a hoodie. This was a collection which started on September 22nd, 2020 and H&M said they would be making donations to the artists’ hometowns as well.
While these brands are using products to make a statement, Nike also has a section on their website called “You Can’t Stop Our Voice.” The “You Can’t Stop” words are used very actively in the regularly produced Nike merchandise in terms of exercise, working out, and your health since this is what the brand is mainly focused on. But when you visit the website, it says “Election season is here. Make sure you have everything you need to vote in your state.” Several links and resources are given to those who are unsure of where to find a polling place, looking up ballots, a Voter Toolkit to inspire those to take action within their own community, a Voter Guide, and more. They even have a code called NIKE2020 which was available from October 24th – October 20th, 2020 to have Lyft riders get $10 off their ride to the poll.
All of the actions taken by these brands and so much more are a huge step towards inspiring people to take time out of their busy day and schedule to really vote for the country we live in as it’s our duty. Providing resources and even merchandise is an interesting and creative twist that brands are doing to get people to do this. Some may say this is more of a marketing tactic to get viral, coverage, and reposts, but as long as the message is continuing to be spread and no harm is being done, then this is definitely the right move.