Yahoo! News this fall traveled 6,000 miles across the country with the Ask America News van, an interactive experience designed to engage Americans in the issues surrounding the November elections. From its launch on Sept. 28 in Tampa, FL, until its final stop at the Oct. 30 rallies in Washington, D.C., the van stopped at key campaign events, polling people on issues, getting them to speak out and posting content on askamerica.yahoo.com. Attendees received apple pie, bumper stickers and pins as giveaways. The van traveled from Florida through the south and across the Southwest via historic Route 66, to California, then to Colorado and onto the satirical rallies on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., hosted by Comedy Central personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
In addition, Yahoo! encouraged people to participate in the democratic process by distributing lawn signs in 20 communities. People took pictures of themselves with the signs and uploaded them to Facebook or emailed them to firstname.lastname@example.org. One person chosen at random received a $5,000 prize, and the town with the most pictures by November 2, Election Day, received $15,000 for a community project.
“This reinforced our online presence, our number one news site and great election coverage, but did it in a fun way, showing up in real life and letting folks experience our editorial and be a part of the video itself,” Barbara O’Connor, vp-consumer marketing at Yahoo!, told Buzz. “Our audience created the content about their feelings on the elections. We didn’t take a stand pro or con but enabled the conversation with the news van.” Agency: Legacy Marketing Partners, Chicago.