Using Video Games In Political Campaigns: AOC Takes to Twitch to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) [Case Study]

Photo credit: Screenshot taken from Twitch on October 19, 2020.

Last month, I described a few ways that politicians can use video games in their political campaigns.

The post described the way Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) used the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons to interact with gamers online.

By announcing what she was doing on social media, she was able to get the attention of casual bloggers and the mainstream press. As I mentioned in the post, the positive earned media coverage that she generated is something that public relations professionals dream of!

It is therefore not surprising that she tried something similar earlier this month to help Get Out the Vote (GOTV) for the Democratic Party.

However, this time she played the game Among Us and broadcast the gaming session on Twitch, the video livestreaming service operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

AOC Used Twitter to Generate Interest

Once again, AOC used social media to get the word out about what she was doing on the video livestreaming service.

On October 19, 2020, she sent out a tweet asking if anyone would be interested in playing Among Us on Twitch to help get out the vote for the upcoming election.

That tweet generated over 398,000 likes, over 40,000 retweets, and over 15,000 Twitter users commented on the post.

Not a bad way to start.

It took her some time to set up the game and choose who would get to take part in the gaming session. (There were many well-known gamers to choose from!)

In the end, she didn’t actually go live on Twitch until the next day. Whether this was planned or a fortunate accident, I’m not sure. But it did help build up anticipation for the event. It also gave people some time to spread the word on social media.

Near Record-Breaking Success on Twitch

The next day she announced that the Twitch livestreaming event would take place at 9 p.m. EST.

Among other gamers, she was joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Needless to say, the gaming session had the Internet buzzing. These are just some of the tweets that I either retweeted or bookmarked throughout the night.

As the article that The Verge tweeted out mentions, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made her Twitch debut tonight to play Among Us and encourage viewers to vote. She also, very quickly, became one of the platform’s biggest broadcasters: her stream peaked at 435,000 viewers around the time of her first match, according to Twitch. (The stream had dipped to around 350,000 viewers as of this writing, after about two hours of playing.)”

“That peak viewership puts her broadcast among the 20 biggest streams ever, according to third-party metrics site TwitchTracker, and much higher if you’re only looking at broadcasts from individual streamers,” the article continues. “Ninja holds the record for an individual streamer, with more than 600,000 viewers during a Fortnite match with Drake in 2018. TwitchTracker’s metrics suggest that AOC’s stream could [be] in the top 10 for an individual in terms of peak viewers.”

Whether or not it helped get out the vote, we don’t know yet. What we can say though is that she connected with a lot of potential voters and, once again, helped generate a lot of earned media that helped her cause and her personal brand, as well.

As Vetur tweeted, “AOC setting a trend that more politicians and other influencers outside of content creation will be using in the future. Watch this space.”

Video credit: NowThisNews on YouTube.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.