When it came to voting, European young people just didn’t care. In fact, they didn’t even seem to care that they didn’t care. So The League of Young Voters faced a major challenge to get apathetic voters to care about casting votes.
Young voters, however, did care – at least when the League intentionally angered them. By creating the Alliance for Responsible Democracy (ARD) – a fictitious lobby group seeking to raise the voting age to 25 – the League aimed to entice young people to stand up for their right to vote and amplify the voice of politically active youth. The ARD used reverse psychology to encourage young people to vote in the European Parliamentary Elections of May 2014. The campaign turned anger into action.
When the true identity of the Alliance was revealed a month before the elections, the League received a wave of positive reactions both on Twitter and Facebook, turning ferocious foes into close supporters. The campaign reached nearly 6 million people through “top-notch” trolling on social media and the ARD website, as well as through guerrilla marketing tactics. In the end, the League achieved both goals – enraging youth into advocating for their right to vote and raising awareness of youth disenfranchisement in the EU policy sphere – while operating on a relatively miniscule budget of just €50,000.