April 14, 2007
Norman Lear Asks Young People to Declare Themselves--in Multiple Media Formats

An old television name has entered into a multiplatform campaign to try to attract young people to participate in one of the oldest forms of interactive engagement in our country: voting.

Norman Lear, creator of the heralded All in the Family television series, among myriad television series, will be once again asking young adults to Declare Yourself to try and get as many 18-year-olds as possible to register and vote for the presidential election in 2008.

Lear has signed up a variety of teen television stars to help be spokespeople for the campaign and has further partnered with the A-list of online sites (Google/YouTube, Friendster, MySpace, C3 partner Yahoo!, Good Search, and Evite). Throw in massive radio conglomerate Clear Channel and C3 partner MTV Networks' Comedy Central and the Lear voter initiative has a campaign that can spread across TV, radio, and Internet to reach voters.

The project will officially launch this summer, and the voter registration drive is expected to have other official partners as well. See Declare Yourself's MySpace page for more information.

Declare Yourself began in 2004 and registered approximately 1 million new voters in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

MTV has covered plenty of ground with its Rock the Vote, while I have written in the past about WWE's Smackdown Your Vote.

Back last October, I wrote about the WWE using podcasts prominently in its Smackdown Your Vote campaign. I wrote:

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.

As Ted Johnson writes about the Lear campaign, "the Internet generation won't be able to miss it."