Three PR firms take part in voter initiatives

LOS ANGELES: A handful of high-profile voter drives have kicked off in recent weeks, aided by a trio of PR firms.

LOS ANGELES: A handful of high-profile voter drives have kicked off in recent weeks, aided by a trio of PR firms.

One of the most successful at grabbing media attention is the Vote for Change Tour, spearheaded by liberal political organization MoveOn PAC, with PR help from Fenton Communications, which is advising the tour and the musicians' publicists.

That effort will take such star musicians as Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds on a concert tour supporting the Kerry campaign in swing states in early October.

Another celebrity endeavor is Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Citizen Change - Vote or Die effort, also launched this month. That non-partisan campaign will use guerrilla- and street-marketing tactics similar to those Combs' team has used to market music and clothes to encourage young people to vote.

"We have a lot of power in that space, and with power comes responsibility," said Jameel Spencer, CMO of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment and head of Citizen Change efforts, of why his organization joined the political fray. "We want to put the platform of education, poverty, and healthcare on the minds of both candidates."

Both Dan Klores Communications (DKC) and 5W PR are helping push Vote or Die. Spencer added that the goal is to have 20 million young people vote.

"We're doing it the hip-hop way - very ostentatious, very audacious," he said.

Spencer added that Black Entertainment Television and MTV, among others, are media partners for the effort and have donated extensive airtime.

DKC is also aiding two other clients with voter campaigns, both of whom (along with Combs) have put their messages on T-shirts. British retailer French Connection UK (FCUK) has partnered with Rock the Vote to have T-shirts reading "fcuk you, I'm voting" passed out at events, including both major party conventions.

And LA-based DKC client Clothing of the American Mind is driving an RV across the country to encourage voter registration and to pass out T-shirts with anti-Republican slogans, such as "Axis of Evil Doers."

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