Campaign: Yahoo! News Ask America
Leading up to the midterm elections, Yahoo! News saw a gap between what Americans were feeling and thinking and partisan rhetoric. They sought to change that dynamic by building a forum where people could focus on the issues that mattered to them, share their thoughts and opinions and gather non-partisan information. They called it Ask America.
Yahoo!’s goal was to increase awareness of Yahoo! News by 50% and drive engagement through Ask America. To expand Yahoo! News’ presence beyond the online Yahoo! experience, Ask America engaged people out in the real world. For more than 40 days, a Yahoo! news van logged 10,000+ miles across the country, while the team talked one-on-one with 11,000+ voters about the issues that mattered to them. A news producer/editor created more than 20 video reports, which were then featured as content on Yahoo! News.
On the road, Yahoo! News handed out more than 9,000 slices of apple pie to those who visited the van. Twitter and Facebook tie-ins allowed people to spread the conversation and invite others to share their opinions on issues. An iPad app in pop-up voting booths let voters stay connected to the issues at the news van. Real-time results from the Ask America conversations were picked up by other major news organization.
In a one-day grassroots takeover in 20 towns across America, the distribution and posting of 20,000 provocative, politically engaging lawn signs turned the offline efforts into a viral word-of-mouth campaign. Additionally, 50 Yahoo! News branded pedicabs at the Colbert/Stewart rally in Washington, DC and 40,000 branded rally signs and megaphones provided visibility at an event focused on bipartisanship.
Throughout the campaign, the Ask America site hosted 4 million visitors who spent 18.7 million minutes and cast more than 8.1 million votes. More than 322,000 comments were posted on the site. The Yahoo! News Facebook page grew from 150,000+ fans in September to 500,000+ fans by the end of 2010. In total, more than 5,300 mentions and references appeared in North American news outlets on television, print, online and radio, including Good Morning America, ABC, MSNBC and Fox.