Voter registration PSAs go mobile with game developer campaign
- Jam City, a developer of mobile games, partnered with nonprofit organization When We All Vote to boost online voter registration going into the U.S. midterm elections on November 6. Players of Cookie Jam, Cookie Jam Blast, Panda Pop and Genies & Gems on Oct. 3-5 will see a reminder to register to vote before state deadlines expire, per an announcement.
- The mobile games will show a full-screen public service announcement that says, "Mobilize for the Midterms," along with a web address for When We All Vote's site. The organization's co-chairs include Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
- Kyle Lierman, CEO of the nonpartisan When We All Vote, said the campaign marks the first time that the organization has run ads on mobile games. Jam City was founded in 2010 by MySpace co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe and former 20th Century Fox executive Josh Yguado.
Jam City's partnership with When We All Vote may help to reach younger voters who have shifted their viewing habits from TV to mobile devices. Most Americans (95%) own a smartphone and more than 185 million people play mobile games, according to data cited by Jam City and When We All Vote. The average smartphone user spends 55 minutes a day playing mobile games, making them a highly engaged audience, the announcement said.
The popularity of smartphones has led other mission-based groups to find ways to capitalize on mobile technology like messaging to expand their reach. The Ad Council in June, for example, released a mobile messaging campaign about the consequences of underage drinking and driving with a story-driven chat experience on Facebook Messenger. And last year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning immersed viewers in a 360-degree video to warn against the perils of drunk driving.
Mobile platforms showed their bigger role in informing the public with this week's first "presidential alert" sent as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission tested the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA). The controversial test originally was scheduled for last month, but was delayed because of concerns about Hurricane Florence, NBC News reported. According to the Atlantic, a presidential alert is the most serious mobile bulletin the U.S. emergency notification infrastructure supports. The mobile alerts have gotten more press attention this year, starting in January when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency triggered a widespread panic with an erroneous notification about an incoming ballistic missile, per The Washington Post.