October 30, 2018

Promote the Vote

Submitted by Kelly Glass

The upcoming midterm election will likely be one of the most closely followed elections in a long time, punctuating a political term that’s been rife with debate and protest. But the problem remains that many of the eligible voters in the United States still don’t come out to the polls. According to FairVote, only about 60 percent of eligible voters show up for presidential election years and the number is even lower for midterm elections — hovering at about 40 percent. Primaries and local elections? You can pretty much forget it.

Luckily, the political world has promotional products on its side. And we don’t mean the plethora of campaign signs littering every inch of empty space along roads. The industry has a big hand in helping get people to the polls every year. Here are a few examples of just how promotional products are helping to promote the vote.

  • Votes for Swag. Los Angeles-based designer Brendan Fowler noticed that less of the new generation of voters was coming out to the polls and then he came up with a way to try and solve the problem. Fowler knows that younger voters will wait in line for hours just to get streetwear swag drops, so he decided to try that tactic with voting. For the upcoming midterm election, Fowler teamed up with streetwear company Denim Tears to produce an exclusive t-shirt, only given to those voters who can prove they actually went out and voted.
  • Beyond the Sign. Sure, signs are the most well-known means of promoting campaigns. But according to PPAI, it’s not just signs anymore that candidates want to purchase. Voter swag is becoming more functional and useful than just a yard sign or bumper sticker, including things such as pens, emery boards, shirts and hats, have all seen an uptick in sales lately. The more you look at those products throughout the course of the day, the more you’ll be reminded to vote.
"This year has been very good for promotional products in campaigns,” Luke Shenk, vice president of sales at distributor Capitol Promotions in Glenside, Pennsylvania, told PPAI. “Everyone seems to think the presidential election is the best year, but this has been the biggest in the cycle. During presidential election, everything is consolidated. There’s more distribution for smaller candidates this year.”
  • Protest Merch. With all the controversy that’s come up throughout this political cycle so far, we’ve heard many new catch phrases for a variety of people. There’s nothing like a good protest to promote those phrases. But in order for the ideas and ethos behind causes to really take off, people need to be reminded — generally through promotional items such as shirts, buttons and other swag that sport the logos or ideas. Consider The Outrage, a boutique in Philadelphia, that sells mass-merchandised items sporting catch phrases ranging from “Believe Women” to “November is Coming” and “Families Belong Together.” The items are a way for people to promote their views, inspire debate and get others to the polls.

If your clients are interested in getting into the political merchandise arena, try to sway them away from lawn signs and into something with more staying power. Reach out to Idea Custom Solutions for the vector artwork, embroidery digitizing and other graphic services you’ll need to customize products and print.


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