The second Tees Valley mayoral election should have taken place in 2020, but was postponed until May 2021. This was an important election – one that held the potential to prove that devolution of powers to the Tees Valley had engaged voters.
Public consciousness was turned towards the ongoing pandemic, and a high profile by-election taking place in Hartlepool, which had captured media attention.
Our brief was to create and implement an integrated campaign to build awareness of the Tees Valley mayoral election taking place on May 6, and ultimately drive voter turnout. The objective was to build on turnout of the first mayoral election in 2017 – which was 21.3%.
We created a simple, standout visual identity to lead the campaign. The ‘X’ motif was made up of component icons denoting the areas in which the Mayor could effect change: transport, tourism, business, towns, jobs, skills and investment. It simultaneously denoted the ‘X’ voters would mark on the ballot paper and neatly summarised the issues at stake. The motif was accompanied with the strapline: “Time to vote for your Tees Valley Mayor, 6th May 2021”. It was deliberately unambiguous and straight to the point so the message could be delivered in the blink of eye.
The X underpinned a wide reaching, cross-media campaign plan that followed the PESO model. The campaign was carefully thought out to adjust for changing commuting and travel patterns brought about by COVID restrictions. For example, under normal circumstances campaign touchpoints would have included public transport and public buildings. With much of this closed/not operational at the time, we invested budget and resources elsewhere.
Paid activity included targeted social media advertising, digital display and print advertising with regional news publishers, YouTube advertising, outdoor advertising including adshells in supermarkets and places of continued footfall, and radio advertising.
Shared activity included influencer collaboration. We secured the support of Teesside influencer Olivia McHale (@Thenorthernist) – who has a significant following among young people in the area. We supplied Olivia with tailored creative assets that she used to put together an Instagram story and post that spelled out the importance of voting. Using our briefing, she put her own spin on the messages – articulating why she felt it was important to vote. This gave us an authentic voice with young voters.
Owned activity included extensive social media activity – both organic and paid. We used Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn channels, as well as those of the Authority’s business support function – Tees Valley Business.
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