Jones Soda Co., Seattle, is putting voter registration tools into customers’ hands with voting-themed labels featuring QR codes taking citizens directly to a registration site.
Powered by a registration tool operated by the nonprofit and non-partisan Voter Participation Center (VPC), the soda bottles allow eligible citizens to register to vote, check their current registration status, and find information on voting guidelines and state registration deadlines from their smartphones — all while knocking back a bottle of Jones Cream Soda.
Hitting store shelves across the United States beginning this week, the limited-edition Vote 2020 labels feature six different designs created by artists and consumers in a total print run of 500,000. Front label graphics range from a “Voting Beats Not Voting” message to a nine-time repetition of the word “Vote” superimposed over an image of the Statue of Liberty. A QR code on the back enables online voter registration in about two minutes with a driver’s license or state identification card.
“The right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy but millions of eligible voters aren’t registered even in a normal year, and this year is obviously not normal,” said Jones Soda Interim Chief Executive Officer Jamie Colbourne in statement. “Registration numbers are at historic lows because the pandemic has shut down many voter registration sites and live events. We created our Vote 2020 bottles to both inspire people to register and give them a way to do it without even putting down their drink. We hope to reach our core consumer set, Gen-Zers, who make up 10 percent of the eligible voting pool, and make a real impact on the voices that get heard on Election Day and beyond.”
The initiative is the latest in a series of special-edition Jones Soda labels ranging from a 2008 campaign featuring each of that year’s presidential candidates to the recent “Messages of Hope” bottles sharing images of positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones Soda also changes all product labels regularly using images created by consumers, creating a strong brand personality that has attracted more than 1.5 million submissions to the company website to date.
Leading up to November, the Voter Participation Center is ramping up its mail, digital and text outreach efforts to help members of the Rising American Electorate — unmarried women, people of color and young people — make their voices heard. Since its founding, VPC has worked with its partner, the Center for Voter Information, to help more than 5 million people register to vote. This cycle alone, the organizations have helped more than 1 million people register to vote and have helped an additional 2.5 million people send Vote-By-Mail applications to local election officials to safely vote from home.
“With COVID-19 putting traditional in-person voter-engagement efforts on hold, partnering with Jones Soda is among the most creative new approaches we are using to empower historically under-represented voters to participate in democracy,” said Tom Lopach, president and chief executive officer of the Voter Participation Center. “Everyone who buys a Jones Soda looks closely at the labels because they’re fun and constantly changing, so it’s a great opportunity for us to both call attention to the importance of voting and enable people to register on the spot simply by using their smartphones.”