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October 15, 2006

WWE Smackdown Your Vote! Podcasts

I have written a lot in the past about the WWE's use of cross-platform distribution to further the stories of its content. Particularly, the company has turned its Web site into a medium that furthers the storylines for the weekly wrestling programs. When some of its B-shows were dropped, they started distributing them by streaming the matches through the Web site. Stories started being explained through WWE Unlimited was released online to show what was happening during commercial breaks. And a recent drive to update and innovate the site's content was turned into an online storyline.

However, WWE also uses its penchant for multimedia distribution for content that does not belong within its fictional world. Particularly, the company's Smackdown Your Vote! campaign provides an interesting look at voting issues affecting the WWE's target demographic, young adult males, and a variety of information. Most interesting to me is the podcasts where WWE asks questions of various elected officials or candidates. This is part of the company's move for the 18-30 VIP group, focusing on issues affecting voters in this age range.

To make these of further interest to wrestling fans, the project is headed up by former WWE wrestler and Harvard graduate Christopher Nowinski. It's a chance for WWE to both use the celebrity of its performers/characters and the reach of its transmedia distribution to participate in a strong public relations campaign that has had success in the past of registering young adults.

For anyone interested in these types of voting campaigns or how an entertainment company can use its popularity to cover a social issue, this is well worth a look.

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