election-day-2016

No matter where you stand in any given election, there is no denying that voting in our next leaders is a huge event and presents many opportunities for brands to be a part of the conversation.

This year, that was especially true. The unusual presidential election elicited emotional reactions on both sides of the aisle that seemed to make people more invested in the outcome than any election in recent history.

Many marketers have shied away from commenting on the election to avoid alienating customers. The stakes were high for everyone.

But some marketers stepped up and showed that there is a way to reach customers with election-related ads and content without choosing sides. Here are a few examples of the best election day 2016 marketing:

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

This barbecue chain hired the Young & Rubicam ad agency in New York to create a winning election day ad that appealed to both sides of the aisle.

The ad was designed like a classic political ad, with blue and red lettering and images and plenty of stars. The text read “Whether you are right wing or left wing we are all in the same bucket.”

The ad made a clever pun on “wing” to refer to chicken wings as well as wings of a political party. The ad didn’t take any political sides, and it appealed to unity. You don’t have to choose sides to enjoy good barbecue!

In store, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que allowed customers to order a bucket of “Left Wings” or “Right Wings” if they wanted to declare their allegiance, though all buckets had the same delicious chicken. A “F*ck It Buckit” was also available for undecided voters.

Izod

Izod makes comfy sweaters and other apparel, and the election produced the perfect hero for comfy sweater wearing: Ken Bone.

Ken Bone was an undecided voter allowed to ask a question of the candidates during the second presidential debate. He shot to internet fame because of his kind demeanor, which many felt as a balm to the contentious political discussions.

Bone became as famous for his red sweater as for his kind manner and his thoughtful question. Izod created an emoji of Ken Bone with his signature glasses, mustache and red sweater. It appeared on Twitter anytime someone used the hashtag #MyVote2016.

Offering the free emoji was a simple way to get exposure for the sweater brand without choosing a political side. People on both sides of the political aisle rallied behind Ken Bone as a ray of light during the election, and by aligning with him, Izod embraced that positivity as well.

Kettle

The maker of the crispiest potato chips decided to take a more partisan approach without actually endorsing anyone.

It created a “Stir the Pot” campaign that featured an ad with a woman dressed in 70s garb and the tagline “Flavor bold enough to smash glass ceilings.” Other ads also said “More cheddar than the one percent.”

Even though the ad took on some political topics – women’s equality and income inequality – they are topics on which most people can agree. The ad also made a clever connection to the qualities that the chip offers, so it all worked very well together.

Google

Of course, Google always has great marketing that ties into every major event, holiday and trend. And we’re not just talking about the clever doodles that occupy the home screen.

For election day, the search giant wanted to position itself as the source for election information and results. Google provide live results on the election returns, updating the information every 30 seconds. You didn’t have to tune into the networks and wait for broadcasters to announce the returns; you could see them coming in as they were announced on Google.

Google also showed the results for senatorial and house races, as well as local races by state, such as for governor, attorney general, and more.

Of course, you don’t have the power to be Google, providing real-time election results. But you can learn a lesson from the search giant to create timely content. Don’t just write up a synopsis later. Think about how you can tap into the excitement and energy that people have now.

For example, you can film live videos on election night or hold lively discussions on social media. Tie the election into something relevant to your brand, and find ways to avoid contentious discussion.

Navigating controversial topics isn’t always easy, but if you can do it well, you can put your brand on top and attract a lot of loyal followers.

If it’s appropriate for your brand, you can go ahead and take a side. Take a controversial stance and you’ll generate a lot of heated discussion, which will make users feel more engaged and get you more exposure for your brand.