Crowdsourcing to Engage the Electorate

Published Aug-17-13

A crowdsourcing competition to design a campaign t-shirt for Australian politician Kevin Rudd.

Kevin Rudd/DesignCrowd, Australia

The Story:

Crowdsourcing to Engage the Electorate To win elections politicians need recognition and votes. It’s a simple enough formula. But how do you engage and reach parts of the electorate that might otherwise not know you exist or care little about you?

Increasingly, politicians are following the examples of big brands and corporations and turning to crowdsourcing to raise their profile and create a buzz about their politics. It is a neat publicity wheeze that can attract lots of free media coverage, but politicians aren't the only ones who benefit.

Participants have opportunities to win prizes and in some cases boost their career prospects.

One of those politicians embracing the crowd is Kevin Rudd. He was Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010 and again from June 2013 when he ousted Julia Gillard from power.

Rudd for Re-election

In 2012 when he was seeking re-election to the Australian federal parliament Rudd put a brief on his website inviting the general public to design his campaign t-shirt.

“As you probably know – I am pretty dedicated to good fashion. But when it comes to campaign election t-shirts, they can be a little… boring. So it is over to you. If you can come up with a better design – I’ll use it.”

The press got wind of the crowdsourcing initiative and so did DesignCrowd, a web-based custom design marketplace. The competition was relaunched with DesignCrowd offering a $1,000 prize to the winner.

Imaginative Submissions

The Kevin Rudd T-Shirt Design Contest garnered 405 design submissions from 118 designers. They variously featured stylized portraits and maps of Australia and slogans such as ‘Kevinth Heaven’, ‘Kevin for the Win’ and ‘Get Ruddy’.

The overall winning design was submitted by Shane Marchewka (DesignCrowd avatar Studio71) of Melbourne, and featured the words ‘It’s Our Ruddy Future’ on a white t-shirt. The design was personally selected by Kevin Rudd.

Crowdsourcing Benefits

Graphic design contests such as the Kevin Rudd t-shirt contest are popular on numerous crowdsourcing sites across multiple industries. They offer benefits for solution seekers and providers. Among the key advantages are:

Faster process – graphic design projects can take weeks or months. There are meetings, drafts, revisions and layers of decision makers to contend with. Crowdsourcing contests produce designs almost immediately and can be refined by communicating directly with a designer.

Increased exposure - for a designer, winning, getting highly placed or even just participating can lead to increased exposure that brings in new clients. The designer of the winning campaign t-shirt told DesignCrowd that:

“I registered with DesignCrowd earlier in the year as a way to boost my exposure as a freelance designer. I am stoked enough to say I have a former Prime Minister as a client however the $1,000 prize money is like a cherry on top of a very sweet cake!”

Cost-effective – a well-designed and well-run crowdsourcing approach is streamlined and efficient, thereby saving organisations a lot of money.

More designs – all things being equal typical design projects are limited by the number of creative brains that can work on it. A crowdsourcing competition can attract a larger and more diverse group of creatives, all competing to produce the best design possible.

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