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vote in real life


The YouTube community is famous for organizing movements. And yet, despite this digital activism, they’re the least likely demographic to vote in a presidential election. In 2016, we set out to change that in one minute and thirty four seconds.

Case Study: #VoteIRL


Knowing that the US Presidential Election would be a major cultural moment in 2016 and that voter turnout had decreased to abysmal levels. YouTube wanted to help spark change and empower the voices of YouTubers & celebrities, along with the millennials who follow them.

YouTube’s objective was to increase the levels of new voter registration and election day turnout for the 2016 election. We aimed to reach 50% of U.S. millennials.

  • Only 1 in 3 millennials voted in 2012.
  • In 2016, 50% of unregistered voters were millennials.
  • 2016 is the first election where millennials will outnumber baby boomers.


To define YouTube’s unique role in driving young voter turnout, we looked for insights in three key areas: the YouTube community, the elections landscape, and cultural trends. We saw that there were already YouTubers, with thousands to millions of young fans, who deeply cared about the elections. Given the increasingly negative tone of the elections season, we saw an opportunity to empower those YouTubers and use them as catalysts to spark turnout in a positive way.

Through social listening we found a +34% MoM increase in negativity & voter fatigue in months before election, creating an opportunity for a more lighthearted voting message. Along with that, adding a social challenge call-to-action, we could create a sense of urgency and action.

Utilizing influential YouTubers and celebrities we developed a light-hearted, challenge-oriented message during two key moments: National Registration Day and Election Day to create a movement that socialized the vote.


Over 211 unique videos were created by top YouTubers and celebrities, including the Rock, Cher, Ryan Seacrest, Conan O’Brien, The Chainsmokers and more. The results of which were over 11 million combined views and over 1.7 billion impressions.

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