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Virtual City Used As Channel to Enrol to Vote

29 July 2005

New Zealand’s Largest Virtual City Used As Channel to Enrol to Vote - A First for NZ Internet

With only weeks to go to the next general election, internet marketing technology is being called on to reach the estimated 222,000 voters who are not yet enrolled.

In what is a first on the New Zealand internet, 95,000 SmileCity members have received an “enrol to vote” message from the Electoral Enrolment Centre – direct via email, on the internet. The campaign is designed to prompt those who are not yet enrolled to enrol, and those whose details are incorrect to correct them.

“At the click of a mouse they can update their details, or enrol,” says Jeff Glazer, SmileCity’s spokesperson. “It’s innovative, and fast.”

SmileCity (www.smilecity.co.nz) is New Zealand’s largest virtual community and the country’s number one on-line loyalty program. It is an “on-line virtual city” of members representing all age groups, all ethnic backgrounds and all socio economic groups. Members sign up at no cost on SmileCity’s website and, in return, agree to receive marketing emails and surveys. Members are rewarded for their loyalty with points, which they can redeem for cash, donate to charity, or ‘spend’ at the website to purchase goods.

Overseas ‘permission email’ as it is called, is an enormous business and key marketing distribution channel.

“It’s a huge pool of people which we can get to very quickly, and encourage them to enrol,” says Murray Wicks, National Manager, Electoral Enrolment Centre. “It’s another way of reaching people, especially young people who are techno-savvy and used to responding in this way where they may not post back a letter.”

Around 43% of the voters who are not enrolled around the country are aged between 18 and 24. In Auckland Central, 63% of young people 18 to 24 are still not enrolled.

The SmileCity campaign is being channelled through eAtlantis, a partnership between Atlantis (www.eAtlantis.co.nz), New Zealand’s largest owner and broker of lists, and SmileCity, in conjunction with the Electoral Enrolment Centre’s ad agency Young & Rubicam

ENDS

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