Exploring The Gamification of Politics

Some people are getting sick of hearing about gamification, but marketers and other groups are finding the idea of making the mundane fun to be a fascinating concept. Politicians and political campaigns are also starting to tap into the concept of gamification as different candidates attempt to break through to constituents of varying age groups. Political strategists think gamification is a powerful tool for identifying and engaging the public.

"67 percent of households are playing games," said Jordan Raynor, vice president of media and public affairs at Engage. "Why can’t we make political advocacy fun?"

Raynor was on a panel at C&E’s 2011 CampaignTech conference that explored how non-profits and advocacy groups are using gaming to engage constituents.

"Marketing through games is acknowledging that there’s a tremendously large audience that engage with them," said Michael Silberman, the global director of digital innovation at Greenpeace.

As evidence, Silberman pointed out a campaign called VW Darkside, which attempts to convince Volkswagon to support climate change policies. The campaign is a spoof of the company's Super Bowl Darth Vader ads and enlists new members to join and bring friends into the fight as Jedi.

"Make the basic message as interesting and compelling to reach as many people as possible," said Liz Mair, founder of Mair Strategies.

Another practical use for gamification is create a healthy competition among canvassers – particularly when candidates and campaigns want better attendance at campaign events or to get out the vote in a district.

"Gamification has a place for expanding the pie [for entertainment]" Raynor said. "In political campaigns I don't think we're looking to expand the pie, I think we're looking to make the pie sweeter and more substantive."

Source: Campaigns & Elections

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