Client: Dacorum Borough Council
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Express Yourself
Timescale: September - October 2000 (six weeks total)
The Borough of Dacorum contains the towns of Hemel Hempstead,
Berkhamsted and Tring, plus a number of villages. Even before June's
general election, Dacorum Borough Council realised that young people
were the least likely to vote.
Research had already shown that they perceived politics as boring and
irrelevant, so Dacorum Borough Council's communications team set out to
connect with the borough's youth.
The campaign was voted Campaign of the Year in the IPR Local Government
Group Excellence in Communications Awards.
To ensure that young people eligible to vote in the borough were
registered to do so. To engage them using an innovative media mix and to
connect the motivation to vote with other lifestyle elements.
Strategy and Plan
The Express Yourself campaign was launched during Local Democracy Week
in September last year. This coincided with the canvassing for electoral
registration and it was agreed that the campaign should run for six
It was decided that the main thrust of the campaign would be
distributing a range of funky tattoos.
These featured the Express Yourself logo and a ballot box cross. They
were in mono and colour and some glowed under lights.
The backing sheet gave details on how to register to vote and included a
website address. The tattoos were given out in pubs, shops, council
venues, schools and were available via the website.
The main event to be held was Express Yourself night at the local Visage
and Ethos nightclubs. Council officers at the events applied tattoos to
almost 200 clubbers. Spot prizes of champagne and tickets were given
away to those who answered questions about voting and elections.
The tattoo campaign was backed by postcards, posters, T-shirts, and
press releases. These featured images of young people 'expressing
themselves' through activities - rock climbing, basketball and
Local journalists were sent background information, press releases,
photography and tattoos.
The communications team worked in partnership with a school to pilot a
democracy workshop where officers and councillors worked with
New pages were added to the council's website. These were accessed via a
banner ad on the home page and featured information about the campaign,
a downloadable registration form and a feedback button.
Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign and its objectives had wide coverage in the local
When the coverage was evaluated, its worth was that the team recouped
the total budget of £6,000.
The campaign was highlighted in the Local Government Chronicle as an
example of best practice. Following the democracy workshop, more
students said that they were willing to vote.
After the campaign, 99 per cent of the population in Dacorum registered
to vote did so, the borough's highest ever return.