In 2022, MTV and youth focused non-profit HeadCount partnered to create an innovative path for young people to participate in democracy. We worked to bring young, BIPOC voters back to the polls for the midterms by meeting them where they are with a sweepstakes campaign that attracted people who are historically underrepresented. One of MTV’s most enthusiastic fandoms, RuPaul’s Drag Race, was a perfect audience to participate in a civic engagement contest. We focused on maximizing the power of our content and IP to connect with our unique and diverse audience and offered a one of a kind experience as an incentive. We utilized existing communication channels and trusted voices to reach young people that may not be involved in politics, and provided them with a clear path to participation. We empowered the RuPaul’s Drag Race fandom to check their voter registration status by incentivizing action with a curated fan experience that motivated them to participate in the democratic process. Any participant who was not registered to vote was then seamlessly pointed to an online voter registration form. All participants then received multiple reminders to vote via text and email, addressing them directly as fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The strategy behind our partnership sweepstakes was to lean into our content and IP and activate RuPaul’s Drag Race fandom to take action during the 2022 midterms. We met voters where they were by using content and talent they love to watch and interact with to encourage them to register to vote.
We worked with HeadCount to create a sweepstakes that piqued the interests of RuPaul’s Drag Race's most dedicated fans and incentivized participation with curated prizes that would encourage them to check their registration status. They could then register to vote if they needed to. HeadCount set up a custom website that allowed people to enter the contest by checking their voter registration status by providing basic information including name, address, email, and phone number. Individuals were then prompted to register to vote on the site if they weren’t already. This website and the sweepstakes were promoted on social media by RuPaul’s Drag Race, HeadCount, and World of Wonder (RuPaul’s Drag Race’s production company) accounts. The sweepstakes were also featured on the VH-1 homepage and on the HeadCount campaigns page.
One grand prize winner of the sweepstakes and three guests earned one of the ultimate fan experiences of traveling to Las Vegas to attend RuPaul’s Drag Race Live. An additional 20 other participants were given curated RuPaul merch packages.
The RuPaul’s Drag Race sweepstakes, in partnership with HeadCount, encouraged members of the show’s fan community to take action to be prepared to vote in the 2022 midterms. The sweepstakes led 5,142 people to check their voter registration status and registered 1,318 people to vote. Around 56% of the entries were individuals between the ages of 18-34.. Most importantly, participants in HeadCount sweepstakes were 20+ percent more likely to vote than people in the same age group who did not participate. The contest reached voters all across the United States. The top ten participating states included California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, Ohio and Washington.
Our strategy of incentivizing civic engagement action by leaning into our content and IP, in this case one of our most popular shows – RuPaul’s Drag Race – successfully motivated our audience to participate in the critical midterm elections, especially when many issues relevant for this fandom were on the ballot. Leveraging show fandoms has proven to be one of the most successful approaches to rallying young people to vote and is already informing our plans to continue contributing to record youth voter turnout by partnering with even more Paramount shows in the upcoming 2024 election.