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Rock the Vote marries social and mobile via QR code-enabled t-shirts

Nonprofit Rock the Vote is placing mobile bar codes on t-shirts to walk young voters through the voter registration process.

Rock the Vote will be selling the t-shirts throughout the 2012 elections and will use them to show how the technology works at music festivals and events. Rock the Vote has teamed up with social media platform PromoJam on the initiative.

?QR codes are just another way to reach young people and instantly ask them to register to vote using their mobile phone,? said Chrissy Faesen, vice president of marketing and communications at Rock the Vote, Washington.

?Through our partnership with Junk Food Clothing, Threads for Thought and PromoJam we were able to create an eco-friendly, fashionable way to outfit out volunteers at festivals such as South by Southwest where they are already on the ground registering voters,? she said.

Rock the Vote is a nonprofit organization with the goal of educating young voters on important issues that drive them to the polls. The organization claims to have registered more than five million voters to date.

PromoJam is a social media platform that lets brands launch social media initiatives on the Web and mobile devices.

Mobile fashion
Rock the Vote is working with t-shirt company Junk Food the and eco-focused fashion label Thread for Thought on this initiative.

Users can buy the t-shirts at either or

The QR-code enabled t-shirts feature the Rock the Vote logo with a mobile bar code on the left side of the shirt.

Users who scan the mobile bar code are taken to an optimized landing page where they can sign up to receive Rock the Vote?s email and SMS programs.

The landing page features a large button where users can register to vote. Consumers are then taken through a five-page process that asks for their contact information to fill out a voter registration form.

The majority of states do not allow online registrations, so depending on where the user lives, Rock the Vote will email a PDF version of the form to users that they will need to mail in.

The nonprofit is working with 10 states that allow online registrations to include Rock the Vote?s system as a way to let users register electronically. Currently, voters in Colorado can fill out and submit the form electronically.

Engaged youth
Consumers can also watch a Rock the Vote video on the mobile landing page that features celebrities at Rock the Vote events. The video also includes a mobile call to action for the nonprofit?s text program.

To opt-in to the program, users can text the keyword ROCK to the short code 788683.

The landing page also promotes Rock the Vote?s social media pages with buttons that let users ?like? the company?s Facebook page and follow the nonprofit?s Twitter account.

Rock the Vote is placing big bets on mobile as part of its digital strategy to connect with young voters.

Recently, the nonprofit revealed how it has built its SMS program by incorporating calls to action in all marketing material (see story).

"Youth in America spend more time online and on social networking sites, via their smartphones, computers and tablets, than they do on any other form of media, so creating a voter registration campaign that reaches young Americans on platforms that they care about and are using most was imperative," said Amanda MacNaughton, cofounder/chief marketing officer at PromoJam, Los Angeles.

"This Millennial generation makes up nearly one quarter of the entire electorate, and the current voter registration processes in America are difficult to use and antiquated," she said.

"Knowing that youth in America spend more time on their phones than any other type of technology, and knowing that they care about music and fashion, we realized that the best way to reach them would be to launch a program that merged their favorite things - technology, fashion and music."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York