Tuesday was Primary Day in New York and the Bernie Sanders campaign deployed a special tactic to mobilize young voters: “New York Vote Bernie Today!” Snapchat geofilters featuring a cartoon-character Sanders standing next to Lady Liberty. This is not the first move out of their arsenal of Millennial-driven advertisements. Sanders purchased “Feel the Bern” filters for the 9 days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. The campaign knows that their success hinges on the participation of young voters – and what better way to reach them than infiltrating their selfies?
To take a step back — Snapchat geofilters are graphic filters that can be superimposed over a user’s photos or videos before they share with friends. Anyone can purchase a Snapchat filter to be unlocked when a user is within their hand-picked geographically targeted location.
Two-thirds of Snapchat’s 100 million users are over the age of 18. A recent poll revealed Millennial Snapchat users are engaging with the political process, following the election closely, and are looking to Snapchat for an insider view of campaigns (all campaigns currently have active accounts posting regular behind-the-scenes updates). Millennials on Snapchat are more likely to vote than those who aren’t. Will this move motivate young voters to “Feel the Bern” and get out and vote? It wasn’t enough to pull ahead in New York, but I don’t think this is the last of Sanders we’ll see on Snapchat.