Samantha Bee's plan to Gamify voting & Increase Voter Turnout

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Comedian and host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, is a driving force in the commentary on contemporary issues both in the US and around the globe. In Samantha's attempts to inform and put a spotlight on current issues for her younger audience, her biggest dilemma is knowing that more than half of her audience (54%) are not registered to vote in relation to the very issues she is educating them in.

So this brings forth the question, "how do you motivate young people to participate in the voting process?", after multiple failed attempts from years previous such as celebrities wearing "Vote or Die" T-shirts or TV networks hosting celebrities in initiatives like "Rock the Vote" to help increase voter turnout, you'd be forgiven for thinking all options have been exhausted to appeal to young audiences.

The team at Full Frontal knowing that they do not have the pulling power of big name celebrities, have been forced to approach the subject matter in entirely different way. Finding a way to appeal directly to basic human desires, such as Engagement, Rewards and Affirmation seemed to be the most logical approach.

With successful Apps such as HQ on the rise, the team felt that this was the best route to take, Gamifying politics and the voting process through a trivia based game that offers cash prizes for the winners.

After a lot of rough drafts that got ironed out into something more digestible and user friendly, Samantha and the team launched This Is Not a Game: The Game . Following a formula much like HQ's own, the game has daily live quizzes based around 10 multiple choice questions about the midterm elections, current events and facts regarding democracy.

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The writing team have endeavoured for the game tone to be light and humorous, in keeping with Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. That was in fact one of their biggest initial challenges with bringing the game together, a lot of the developers would comment that they love the show but they would not play the game, it was a bit cold and stilted.

Now applying gamification pillars such as Meaning, Accomplishment, Social Influence, Ownership and Loss Avoidance to the finished product, time will tell if Samantha and the team have managed to create an App that is not only fun and engaging but has managed to turn the tide on the registered voter numbers.

Bee says, "It's been an amazing learning experience so far. If this continues in that direction then I think that's a win for us as people, a win for us as a show, If my dreams came true, we would learn a ton from this experience and fill it out and make it even better for 2020."

Read the App description below:

Samantha Bee wants to get you excited about the 2018 midterm elections in the best way possible: a daily trivia game with a cash prize of up to $5,000! And don’t worry, the game isn’t rigged; it’s for everyone! We don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Green Party, or Gary Johnson, we just want you to get excited about voting.

Once per day, you’ll get the chance to answer 10 multiple choice questions about the midterms, current events and very important facts about democracy like in what 1980’s vampire movie Kiefer Sutherland played POTUS. Get every question right and you’ll win cash from the daily jackpot, split with the other winners (#winning)! Get every question wrong and you probably don’t know anything about the United States, so we’re glad you’re here.

How it works:
* Join the game every day when you get a push notification—usually at 7pm EDT and 4pm PDT.
* Answer 10 funny trivia questions while the clock counts down!
* Win real cash by answering all 10 questions right.
* Winners split the daily jackpot of $1K to $5K—and sometimes more!
* Got a question wrong? Embarrassing—but you can keep playing if you have extra lives.
* Get extra lives by signing up for election reminders, inviting friends, and completing weekly challenges. If only a political comeback were that easy!

Why did Full Frontal make this game? To get people excited about the midterms, maybe even excited enough that they’ll go out and vote! America's typical midterm election turnout SUCKS and we are 100% certain this game will solve everything. We want America to learn facts, register to vote, and get involved in the U.S. election process. Isn’t that beautiful? Don’t answer. We know it is.

All civic-minded people are required by law to play the game for a chance to win a cash prize. Non-civic-minded people are also encouraged to play. See you in the game!

Whatever the outcome may be, this is a perfect example of an innovative campaign idea, utilising the motivational science behind gamification mechanics in order to bring change to social issues. Who would of thought playing games can effect change on a political level.

And it doesn't stop their. Bee has inspired other companies to Gamify their customer experience. Look out for and for future gamified e-learning examples. 

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