‘Behavioural economics’ behind the Electoral Commission’s campaign to get more people voting

Hidden cameras have been used to capture the sense of ‘loss aversion’ in the Electoral Commission’s TV campaign to get more people registered to vote.

The ‘WHAT!’ campaign was is based on the insight that in certain situations people are more likely to be motivated by realising they may lose something, than the prospect of making a gain.

This is also known as ‘loss aversion’ which comes from behavioural economics, according to the watchdog.

Developed by DLKW Lowe, the ad used hidden cameras to capture members of the public being stopped from doing everyday activities such as jogging in the park to using a supermarket basket.

It shows people’s reactions and, as someone is turned away from being able to vote in the final scene, ends on the line: ‘You can’t vote, unless you’re registered by 20 April.’

Supporting the TV spots, the campaign will also run across digital with adverts on catch-up TV and Facebook.

Michael Abbott, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission, said: ‘We don’t want anyone to be told ‘no’ on polling day, so we were keen for our campaign to make people sit up and take notice. We know that people can be more likely to take action if they think they’re going miss out, and DLKW Lowe have found a great way of bringing that feeling to life in an engaging way.”

It comes as the EC rolled out a mobile campaign which harnessed data from Weve to geo-target young people on university campuses.

The government is hoping to improve recent statistics which show an estimated 7.5 million eligible people aren’t correctly registered to vote – equivalent to the population of Greater Manchester, West Midlands and West Yorkshire combined. In the last general election less than half of 18-24 year olds voted.

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