Special Group 171 Meddle in the New Zealand Election

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Tony Bradbourne, Lisa Fedyszyn, Jonathan McMahon
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Heath Lowe
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Tracey Lee, Rory Gallery, Jack Gravatt, Till Dittmers, Daisy Conroy-Botica, Bonnie Shum, Sally Lankshear, Jo Kelly, Hamish Kuka, Michael Redwood
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Damien Shatford, Ben Dailey, Kate Roydhouse, Troy Goodall
  • Client
    Every Kiwi Vote Counts

Only 1 in 10 New Zealanders living overseas voted in their own 2016 election. With roughly one million Kiwis abroad, that’s a lot of people not having a say. So, in the 2020 election, non-partisan initiative Every Kiwi Vote Counts was created to convert non-voters.  

Now, say what you want about Russia and their influencing of other countries’ elections, but you’ve got to admit, those meddlers damn well get results!  

So, we turned to the experts in online election influencing. Viktor, the Russian, led a campaign asking Kiwis to ‘Meddle in the New Zealand election’. He targeted overseas Kiwis on social and through PR, constantly sending people to his curated website to vote. 

As Viktor was our spokesperson, we needed to design an online identity for the brand that was informed by his role, so we asked ourselves – what would Viktor do?

In elections, colour is really important, and each party has their own to stand out and cut through. Of course, he couldn’t just nick one of those party’s palettes. So, for maximum meddling, he used them all!

Using New Zealand’s national colour black as a base, he layered in some old found and faded Soviet-era construction paper for POP: dulled back by the breeze of a nuclear winter, cut out with scissors and layered on like election bumper stickers with an icon set stolen from his bitmap printer.

Tonally, the grade of the films had a muted vibe that felt like run down Russia. Even subtitles were ‘generic' yellow Helvetica, just like you see in films from the motherland.

Typography was pulled from his favourite proletariat propaganda films, supported by a trusty typewriter, to keep the information feeling ‘newsworthy’.

Viktor set to making his own website and social media content with a word processer and Dreamweaver 3.0, layering up tile after tile, colourfully entreating his followers to register and vote in order to meddle in their own election.

The result was an online identity designed as a loving reference of this humble meddler’s view of western election culture. Cohesive through tonality, typography, colour, texture and voice, with a little bit of Viktor in every detail.

Did it work? Like any good meddler, he got the job done. Enrolment went up 24%, online votes cast were up by 42%, we had the largest shift in electoral seats since 1999 and a Maori seat was historically gained.