Computer Arts - - Contents -

MSQ Part­ners dis­cusses the Got 5 cam­paign, which pro­motes voter reg­is­tra­tion in a quirky way

MSQ Part­ners ex­plains how it cre­ated the Got 5 cam­paign, which pro­motes voter reg­is­tra­tion in a quirky yet re­lat­able way


What stops peo­ple reg­is­ter­ing to vote is the no­tion that it’s time-con­sum­ing. But in truth, it only takes a few min­utes. So we came up with the tagline ‘Got 5?’. This was based on the idea that you waste time wait­ing for stuff ev­ery day: for a bus, a train, your wash­ing to fin­ish. So why not use that time to reg­is­ter to vote? We cre­ated a black-and-white sto­ry­board and a mood­board, and the client got it im­me­di­ately.

Our idea was to gen­er­ate a bunch of mun­dane images, still and mov­ing, to re­flect this wasted time. But we didn’t want them to be bor­ing; they needed to have their own vis­ual charm. So we went straight to Nick Meek, who has a won­der­ful way of cap­tur­ing the ev­ery­day in an at­mo­spheric and beau­ti­ful fash­ion. We had an amaz­ing client, and they backed our choice of Nick right away.

Nor­mally, you’d get a TV di­rec­tor to make the mov­ing images, then com­mis­sion a photographer to make the stills. But we thought: why don’t we get Nick to make the film him­self? It was a first for him, and a bit of a punt on our part, but it turned out re­ally well.


This was a new and in­ter­est­ing way of work­ing for me as a photographer. It meant that when we started talk­ing about the images, we were talk­ing about the film and stills to­gether, as if they were the same thing. Rather than pick­ing a sub­ject mat­ter and a lo­ca­tion purely on its aes­thet­ics and its qual­ity of light, we also con­sid­ered how it would move and sound.

Beri gave me the black-and-white sketches for the posters and the sto­ry­board, and we hit on the idea of giv­ing each image a dom­i­nant colour: one in yel­low, one in pink, one in orange. That’s the thing that tied the cam­paign to­gether.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion was keen that the choice of colours shouldn’t be per­ceived as po­lit­i­cal: so for ex­am­ple, we had to be care­ful to avoid any­thing in the images that were ob­vi­ously Con­ser­va­tive blue, Labour red, or Lib Dem yel­low. They didn’t go over the top, though. They al­lowed us, for in­stance, to have a yel­low rub­ber duck in the bath, be­cause that’s just a nat­u­ral thing you’d ex­pect see.

I did a lot of re­search into sourc­ing the right lo­ca­tions, props and so on. For in­stance, I looked at about 90 pairs of feet for the toe­nail paint­ing se­quence. It was im­por­tant that th­ese scenes spoke to a range of de­mo­graph­ics: young peo­ple, old peo­ple, fam­i­lies, ba­si­cally ev­ery­body.

That’s a re­ally dif­fi­cult thing to do: there’s a danger that the brand for ev­ery­body is the brand for no­body. But we man­aged to avoid this by cre­at­ing lit­tle idio­syn­cra­sies that lifted every­thing from the or­di­nary. The sub­jects are mun­dane, but we added lit­tle bits of quirky charm to keep things vis­ually in­ter­est­ing; so the bath’s al­ways swim­ming around, the toes are wig­gling, and so on.


What Nick was bril­liant at do­ing dur­ing the shoot was tak­ing our black and white sketches and putting them on screen, then drop­ping over the colour images to make sure that every­thing worked prop­erly and to­gether. Nor­mally, you just shoot stuff and take a bit of a leap of faith when you drop it into the lay­outs back in the of­fice. But here we could do every­thing on set, in real time, which is rare.

What made this project re­ally dif­fer­ent for us is how we de­fied the con­ven­tional wis­dom, whereby you get a di­rec­tor do­ing film and a photographer do­ing stills. It’s rare to see a print cam­paign and a broad­cast piece that look ex­actly the same, but that’s what we’ve achieved as a re­sult. It was a ‘clench­ing of buttcheeks’ mo­ment, but I be­lieve it will be the way for­ward for many cam­paigns.

Got 5? is go­ing to con­tinue to be The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s driv­ing mes­sage over the next few elec­tions. What’s nice is that it feels rooted in the ev­ery­day. Now, we’re think­ing about how it can be­come much more tac­ti­cal. We have to try and make this mes­sage stick.


05 01All el­e­ments of the cam­paign tie in to the idea of us­ing the time spent wait­ing for mun­dane things like buses to reg­is­ter to vote. 02Photographer Nick Meek took charge of shoot­ing both the still and video images. 03Time was spent get­ting the per­fect lo­ca­tions; the bath­room scene was shot in a house in North Lon­don. 04The colour pal­ette needed to be sub­tle and avoid colours that are as­so­ci­ated with po­lit­i­cal par­ties – but an ex­cep­tion was made for the yel­low duck. 05Cre­at­ing the stills and video at the same time, in the same place, meant that the whole cam­paign is strik­ingly in­te­grated.




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