Élections Québec launches corny TikTok campaign to encourage youth vote

Élections Québec launches corny TikTok campaign to encourage youth vote

Someone slathers a corn cob in butter and salt before shoving it in an Élections Québec ballot box to an autotuned song of a child talking about his love of "juicy" corn.

This video, posted on social media platform TikTok by Élections Quebec, is meant to entice those between the ages of 18 and 24 to show up at the ballot box for this provincial election Oct. 3.

"We know it could be a little bit strange," said Élections Québec spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet.

The video has over 102,500 views and 450 comments with mixed reactions ranging from "what did I just watch" to "10/10 marketing."

Élections Québec, in collaboration with marketing and communications agency Cossette, is posting one video of someone putting random objects in the ballot box per day until election day — when they will finally put a voting ballot in the box. This is their first campaign using TikTok.

Rather than promote political parties' campaigns or platforms, they hope their social media posts will draw attention and show elections are accessible to everyone. Drolet said there will be a separate educational campaign.

"In general, our campaign really focuses on the fact that most people who don't vote say that they are not interested in politics," said Drolet.

"So, a big speech about democracy won't be effective to reach non-voters. That's why we use humour and sometimes a bit of absurdity to reach non-voters and attract their attention to the Oct. 3 election."

But not every young adult agrees, and some like Dawson College student Erica Ruffolo find it infantilizing.

"We're not children," she said.

Other Dawson students thought the TikToks were too far removed from the tone of this year's Élections — and that turned them off.

"Um, this is the government? If anything, it makes me think that voting is a joke." said Diego Donoso.

"It just puts things in a bad light, like it's not serious. I don't think absurdity should be anywhere near Élections, it's something that's very serious. I mean, it's our future."

WATCH | These Dawson College students say the approach is all wrong:

Other students, like Nakul Matavudul, say they understand what Élections Québec is trying to do with its humorous approach but they say the video doesn't work.

"It's completely random, the random objects don't make any sense," said Matavudul. "I don't see the relevance."

Of the 17 young adults interviewed by CBC, none felt more likely to participate in the election after seeing the video.

"I feel like there's a much more sophisticated way they could be portraying it," said student Tara Souci.

"I feel like they should be educating people about a topic and actually showing them it's a serious matter instead of putting corn in a box."

Social media consultant Alexandre Turcotte said whether or not people like the video, the fact that it has over 100,000 views and is getting people talking means it is effective.

"People saw it, it is awkward, but they saw it," he said. "They saw Élections Québec, they know we have to vote — maybe not when or how — but the election is coming."

Élections Québec isn't alone in using TikTok to reach would-be voters. All five main political parties have been making short videos of their own to seem relevant to youth.