Since 1990, MTV has mobilized the youth vote in every single election. Through Rock The Vote, Choose or Lose, and +1 The Vote – we’ve empowered generation after generation of young Americans to use their power and make their voices heard at the ballot box.
But with so much at stake in the 2020 Election, these unprecedented times called for an unprecedented new approach for a campaign that needed to do far more than just bolster voter turnout. With a pandemic tightening its grip on the entire nation, our mission shifted to help young and disenfranchised voters navigate the most important election of their lifetime.
Because in so many ways – this was more than just a vote… it was a VOTE FOR YOUR LIFE.
Vote For Your Life was a non-partisan campaign conceived by MTV and adopted by all of ViacomCBS. This digital led, social first initiative was designed to look beyond presidential politics by driving urgency to the issues facing our communities, while providing the resources and opportunities for Americans to vote safely and early.
To meet the needs of the campaign:
- We amplified urgency by creating a series of empowering social and linear promo spots that highlighted the key down-ballot issues of this election. The Pandemic, Healthcare, Mental Health, Racial Justice, Jobs, and the safety and well-being of our families.
- We created VoteForYourLife.com, a website that served as a one stop shop to register to vote, check your registration status, update registration information (i.e., address changes due to pandemic), request absentee ballots, find polling places, state deadlines, and learn how and where to vote early.
- We partnered with the Ad Council and Color of Change to broaden our reach and increase voter turnout within historically disenfranchised Black and Latinx communities.
- We established and led a coalition of 2,700 Corporate, Non-Profit, and Governmental Agency partners and tapped a swath of celebrity talent to support Power The Polls. An initiative led by Trevor Noah and The Daily Show to keep older, at-risk poll workers safe by recruiting a new generation to replace them. Collectively we recruited over 700,000 new poll workers – ensuring polling places remained safe and open during the election.
- With the help of our partner coalition, we created and launched America’s very first #VoteEarlyDay on Saturday, October 24th. This new National Holiday helped more than 5 million Americans alone cast votes 10 days before Election Day on November 3rd.
- We teamed with local artists in 20 cities in key battleground states (PA, GA, WI, TX, FL, OH, AZ) – and commissioned large scale Chalk Art Exhibitions to drive awareness to Early Voting and give the public detailed information on how and where to vote early.
ViacomCBS reaches every demographic, with networks representing 1/5th of all television viewing and 825M+ social followers. CBS, Showtime, MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount Network, Pop TV, TV Land, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel championed the campaign by continually airing linear spots and supporting Vote For Your Life content on social – driving 17.4 Million views, over 1.2 Million Engagements and pushing traffic to our website.
On August 30th, during MTV’s Video Music Awards – the Most Watched Pop-Culture Event of 2020 – we loudly launched Vote For Your Life within an award show that saw 1.3 Billion Total Minutes Consumed.
In partnership with the Ad Council, we connected with the broader industry and created an additional distribution pipeline through donated linear and social media from other outlets – Revolt TV, Fox News, and Lifetime Television, to name a few – that generated an additional 60 Million Impressions.
Through our collaboration with Color of Change, we created powerful, customized spots to illustrate ways that Racial Justice could be achieved through the power of voting. We advocated for the need for Americans to vote early and helped them actually do it by paying for the postage for Absentee Ballot Requests made through our website, and by creating #VoteEarlyDay – where 95% of America was able to vote in person or drop off ballots to election officials 10 days before Election Day.
On Saturday, October 24th MTV and CMT teamed up for The Vote For Your Life-stream on YouTube to celebrate the very first Vote Early Day, featuring a slew of musical performances and celebrity appearances – that drove an additional 6.6 Million views of our Vote For Your Life content.
#VoteEarlyDay became a #1 trending topic on Twitter for 10 straight hours and was supported by posts from Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Justin Timberlake, Leonardo DiCaprio and candidates from both sides of the aisle, including both President Trump and Vice President Biden.
As of July 2020, Voter Registration numbers were down by more than 70% in some states, compared to where they were in July 2016. Vote For Your Life launched in August and provided an urgent and steady drum beat to help a displaced electorate overcome voting obstacles brought on by the pandemic and urged millions to stay safe by voting early.
A record 110 million people voted early in the 2020 Election, driven by a historic youth, Black and Latinx voter turnout. We weren’t responsible for bring everyone to the polls of course, but as the numbers below show – we did our part to get America to Vote For Your Life.
- Poll Workers Recruited: 700,000 (76% of 2016’s Total Number)
- Linear: 10,103 Spots – 399.4 Million Impressions
- Social: 1,007 Posts
- Engagements: 1.89 Million Engagements
- Video Views: 23 Million / 17.4 Million on ViacomCBS platforms
- Press: 12 Major Outlets, 48 Local Outlets - 25.7 Million Engagements
- Impressions: 59.2 Million
Noteworthy Linear and Social Spots:
VoteForYourLife - VMA Launch Spot :30
VoteForYourLife - "Just Take a Stand" - :30 Color of Change Spot
VoteForYourLife - Vote Early Day - Series IP Spot
VoteForYourLife - "Justice Is On The Ballot"/Breonna Taylor Spot :30
VoteForYourLife - Post Election Wait Spot :20
VoteForYourLife - RuPaul's Drag Race Spot :30
VoteForYourLife - Mental Health Spot :30
VoteForYourLife - Website Tool - CBS Version x :30
Social Assets & GFX:
Vote For Your Life - Campaign Social Assets
Vote For Your Life - Post Election Wait Social GFX x 7
Commissioned Public Art:
Vote For Your Life - Vote Early Day Commissioned Public Art
Vote For Your Life - Campaign Sizzle Reel Nov. 2020
Video for Vote For Your Life
- “MTV has long championed voter initiatives.” - Axios
- “’Vote For Your Life’ is MTV’s most ambitious turnout campaign ever, tapping into burgeoning youth activism” – Reuters
- “Vote Early Day was started by MTV, which helped create a steering committee that has taken the lead bringing on more than 2,000 partners thus far.” – USA Today
- “College students will have MTV to thank for ‘memorable’ polling sites.” – New York Times
- “MTV introduces national Vote Early Day” – USA Today
- “With voter turnout expected to reach near-record highs in November, MTV is launching what it hopes will become a new national holiday: Vote Early Day” –USA Today
- “MTV pulls out all the stops to encourage young people to get out and vote” –Deadline
- “MTV launches 2020 ‘Vote for Your Life” campaign to mobilize Millennials and Gen Z” – Reuters
- “MTV’s campaign bears watching because it has the promise to help turn out the youth vote at a level we have not seen before” – Forbes
- “The Daily Show host Trevor Noah ends each episode with a pitch for Power the Polls, a national recruitment network working to ensure there are enough poll workers on Election Day.” - USA Today
- “Appeals by Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” have resulted in hundreds of thousands of people signing up to be poll workers through dedicated links on the show’s website”- Reuters
- “MTV is encouraging voters to get to the polls for the first-ever Vote Early Day!” – Entertainment Tonight
- “MTV has founded Vote Early Day as part of their ‘Vote For Your Life’ campaign to help Americans better prepare for Election Day… MTV has such a broad reach, every demographic, every age group…we all love our MTV.” – FOX