It’s not an easy task to make learning how to vote fun, but that’s what creative agency Sid Lee aims to do with a new experience crafted for Minecraft players.
In a partnership with non-profit Rock the Vote, Sid Lee has designed a world within Minecraft called “Build the Vote” where first-time and future voters can come learn about the voting process and experience voting for the first time.
From October 26-30, players can visit the world through the Build the Vote server within Minecraft. There, players go through steps voters take in real life during the election cycle. They can visit a replica of the United States Capitol where they can tour the rooms and learn about the electoral process, “register” their avatars to vote and cast ballots on today’s pressing issues.
Instead of voting with a party and choosing Donald Trump or Joe Biden, players are directed to vote on 10 political issues relevant in the 2020 election: Gun laws, criminal justice reform, healthcare access, climate change, racial equality, education, immigration, job stability, student loans and corruption. And once players vote, they can ring the “voters bell.” A video that outlines the steps to join the experience is being shared by Rock the Vote, its partners and a handful of influencers on social media.
Once the voting period is over, Rock the Vote and Sid Lee will be able to see just how many people voted in the experience and the issues they voted on, thanks to a specific plug-in the agency created in the game. It’s confidential like in reality, so they cannot see who actually voted, just the number of people who did. People can vote multiple times, but the tracking system only records one vote per IP address. Rock the Vote will be sharing the results on its social media platforms.
Although Sid Lee is based in Montreal, the agency has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, and reached out to Rock the Vote with the idea so they could get involved with the 2020 election, says David Allard, associate creative director at Sid Lee.
“Every year Sid Lee uses creativity to serve a bigger purpose than just advertising,” he says. “We looked at different ways to get not only young voters but future voters to get more comfortable with the electoral process in the United States. What we realized is that many people try to bring people in, instead of going to where they are.”
Since the pandemic began, Minecraft, like other video games or game streaming platforms, have seen rapid growth since the pandemic began with so many people staying home and using simulators to connect. In May, the Lego-like building game said it crossed 200 million copies sold, and saw more than 126 million people playing every month.
Nick Labbe, copywriter at Sid Lee, says it took three months for the agency to create the experience within Minecraft and worked with an advisor to guarantee it was using the Minecraft tools correctly. . The agency wanted to make sure the event would be non-partisan so eliminated the chat feature that appears in Minecraft worlds so that players cannot sway each other into voting for party candidates.
“Open world games are kind of becoming a media by themselves right now. They let us go in and play with the game itself,” he says. “Minecraft is a great platform for education and creativity. Combining those factors together, made a great opportunity to teach kids there.”