The Brazilian 2022 presidential election held immense importance, not just for the nation's democracy, but also for the fate of the Amazon and the global climate. Despite mandatory voting, abstention and annulment rates had been rising, with nearly 30% of the population choosing not to participate. So our objective was clear: get more people to the polls!
In order to address this issue, we realized that conventional methods of civic engagement were not enough. We decided to tap into pop culture by enlisting the help of the Avengers superheroes. Their mission was to remind Brazilians that voting could safeguard democracy and the Amazon, while also acknowledging the real superheroes – the Brazilian activists who tirelessly advocated for voting. The goal was to kick off a firestorm of real people sharing inspiring stories of how they were actually helping everyone they know go vote, changing the norm around voting from a solitary act to a genuine team sport, and promoting a first-of-its-kind nationwide GOTV movement.
We also wanted to:
We chose #NotAllHeroesWearCapes as the # for the campaign. This is a popular Brazilian saying that means that everyday people can also be heroes.
The day began with an organic buzz in the Brazilian Pop Culture fan communities, reaching out to Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Benedict Wong, and Samuel L Jackson, urging them to rally voters and defend democracy in Brazil.
To ensure the Brazilian press would be on board and add to the narrative, a local celebrity was asked to Quote Tweet one of the fan messages, setting the #NotAllHerosWearACape.
"Check out the fans! They're even calling on the Avengers to help us mobilize voters! Here, the villains are the empty grocery bags, guns showing up in schools, the lack of medicine at public clinics... Anyone out there listening? #NemTodoHeróiUsaCapa”
Around noon, Samuel L Jackson Quote Tweeted, engaging in the task and tagging other Avengers to assemble for the mission.
Who else but Nick Fury himself could assemble the Avengers on a mission?
I hear you! @RobertDowneyJr, @chrishemsworth, @DonCheadle, @wongrel, @MarkRuffalo, listen up!
🚨THIS IS NOT A DRILL. 🚨
People of 🇧🇷, send your voting stories. It's time for real heroes to assemble. #NemTodoHeróiUsaCapa
Afterwards, dozens of Brazilian celebrities were coordinated to engage, using the same hashtag and Quote Tweeting Samuel's original tweet, drawing attention to the reasons why they would vote. By answering Samuel's call, they inspired voters to take a stand, share their own reasons for voting, and mobilize others
For every Brazilian celebrity engaging with Samuel's tweet, an Avenger celebrity responded, sending a message to voters that they were the real heroes and could be noticed and responded to by one of the Avengers.
This kicked off a firestorm of real people sharing inspiring stories, along with a growing number of celebrities representing different communities of Brazilian voters.
To illustrate, here are some examples of tweets:
Luciano Huck, a prominent Brazilian celebrity, responded to SLJ:
Education is capable of changing people's lives and needs to be defended! From quality basic education to access to universities, we must protect and expand. That's why I'm voting on Sunday, shall we? #NemTodoHeróiUsaCapa
And Robert Downey Jr Quote Tweeted saying:
Exactly, @LucianoHuck. With the right education, every child can shape their best future. Don't wait for it. Vote for it. PS: Still upgrading old cars? Let's talk. #NemTodoHeróiUsaCapa
Then a random Brazilian tweeted:
We need to elect candidates who care about saving the Amazon! That's why here in Manaus, my friends and I took to the streets to talk to those who didn't vote in the first round to show the importance of each vote for the environment. #NotAllHeroesWearCapes
And Chris Hemsworth Quote Tweeted:
Beautiful work @lutravassos_! Please know that as you and your friends choose to confront your problems, the world is walking with you. Every fellow Brazilian you convince to vote, the world is cheering you on. #NotAllHeroesWearCapes
This is how the magic of cultural change happened: as the news and internet buzz spread that the Avengers were interacting with Brazilians to help their fellow citizens vote, a wave of actions and stories was unleashed.
The campaign amassed over 600 thousand tweets from over 233 thousand users in less than 24 hours, and the # and campaign keywords such as Avengers got to the first positions in Trending topics in Brazil and Worldwide. The total reach was 45.908.778 print views on Twitter.
Also, it took over headlines all across the media, both in national and international news, in the internet, print and TV.
The action took place between the first and second round in Brazil's election. And for the first time ever in Brazil's history the turnout in the second round was higher than in the first one, approximately 500.000 people who hadn't shown up to vote in the first round decided to get out and vote in the second one!
The action dominated twitter, TV and press just two days before the second round. A day that had begun with news about political crises and scandals got reversed into being flooded with beautiful and inspiring stories about voting and saving democracy.
The level of depth of the interactions, with people from a whole range of representatives of different aspects of civil society in Brazil interacting and truly engaging raised the bar and lighted the electoral debate into real issues and people's concerns.
Because the whole action was led by Brazilians, who set the agenda and raised the most relevant topics, the issues resonated with Brazilian society, and the participation of the Avengers gave a push to engage press and distribute content widely.