In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges to our health, our economy, and our democracy. All over the country, states have rapidly adapted, coming up with new ways to ensure people can vote safely in upcoming elections. In Maryland, this means encouraging people to vote by mail and offering limited in-person voting options for those who are unable to vote by mail for both the April 28 special election for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ seat and the upcoming June 2 primary election.
There are many concerns about voting by mail, especially in communities that are already marginalized in elections. To ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted, The Hatcher Group has been working with OSI-Baltimore and a coalition of non-profit organizations in Baltimore on a communications campaign to educate the Baltimore region that voting by mail is the best option to protect the health of our community and hold fair, inclusive elections.
For the April 28 special election, we created a 30-second TV spot that features Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, University of Baltimore President — and former mayor — Kurt L. Schmoke, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. A complementary 30-second radio spot is narrated by retired U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. For both the radio and TV ads, we worked closely with the featured speakers, drafting compelling copy and advising them on how to film and record themselves at home. After editing and adding design elements, the spots aired on major TV and radio stations and streaming TV and radio services. For the June 2 primary election, we are working on a second set of radio and TV ads, as well as a comprehensive digital media campaign.
Media outreach is another important aspect of the campaign. The Hatcher Group has helped secure coverage on the Voting by Mail campaign in Maryland Matters, WMAR (ABC) News, and the Larry Young Morning Show (WOLB), with upcoming interviews with the Baltimore Sun and On the Record with Sheila Kast (WYPR).
We also ran a digital campaign, developing programmatic ads to spread awareness about Baltimore Votes and creating Facebook lead-generation ads to increase campaign engagement through op-in emails. In just one week, the programmatic ads earned 402,191 impressions and 3,991 clicks, while the Facebook ads earned 311 leads at just $6.43 per lead, as well as 82,969 impressions. Both ad campaigns greatly outperformed estimates, demonstrating strong creative and copy that connected with the customized hyper-local audience.
The Hatcher Group is proud to be helping keep Maryland residents healthy, and our democracy strong.