Moving Image

Special Group 160 Meddle in the New Zealand Election

Short Form 2021 Credits
  • Creative Directors
    Tony Bradbourne, Lisa Fedyszyn, Jonathan McMahon
  • Design Director
    Heath Lowe
  • Team Members
    Tracey Lee, Rory Gallery, Jack Gravatt, Till Dittmers, Daisy Conroy-Botica, Bonnie Shum, Sally Lankshear, Jo Kelly, Hamish Kuka, Michael Redwood
  • 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 with films on social and PR constantly sending people to his curated website to vote. 

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

Tonally, the grade of the films had a muted vibe that felt like run down Russia, using titles pulled from his favourite mini-series back home. Even subtitles were ‘generic' yellow Helvetica, just like you see in films from the motherland.

We didn’t want there to be any tricky camera work, just a locked off shot – something Viktor could do by himself. We dressed the scene with Russian props to add authenticity: A goat, Lada and flaming bin to name a few. And many of the skits had a little prop that added to the content like a mug of Vodka or some cruddy vintage laptops.

The result was a polished version of a humble meddler’s attempt to get through to kiwis on the other side of the world.

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.