Driving Arkansas Forward
In 2018, the state of Arkansas considered a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling and sports betting at certain licensed facilities. Forward Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy consulting firm working in favor of the new legislation, hired Simmons Design Associates to provide branding and design support for a public-facing “get out the vote” (GOTV) campaign. The campaign, targeted to voters in affected Arkansas counties, needed to raise citizen awareness of the opportunity and clearly convey the benefits of passing the legislation: hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue to support education and public improvement projects. The ultimate goal was to raise voter turnout for the election and ensure the amendment passed.
SDA set out to design a striking visual identity for the campaign that would resonate with minority voters, who resided in the two counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state. Rather than center the visual imagery on gaming, the “Driving Arkansas Forward” initiative was focused on themes of family and personal success, accompanied by taglines such as “It’s Our Turn” and “Why Wait?” Specific design deliverables included outdoor billboards, presentation materials, town hall flyers and door hangers, and promotional materials for a local rally and concert.
The campaign theme SDA developed helped the clients connect with voters, gain their support, and ultimately convince them to vote in favor of the amendment. When voting took place in November 2018, the people made their voices heard and the measure to expand gaming in Arkansas passed. The coming years are expected to bring increased economic prosperity to some of the state’s poorest areas.