Ballot initiatives can be tricky. In order to be successful, you have to turn out likely supporters and persuade others who might be on the fence while being careful not to excite the opposition into turning out. Such an environment makes voter targeted digital ads an extremely effective tool. In 2012, DSPolitical was engaged on two high profile ballot measures: the fight for marriage equality in Minnesota and marijuana legalization in Washington.

In Minnesota, DSPolitical worked with opponents of an initiative that would have written discrimination against same-sex couples into the state constitution. The work of persuading voters began early in the election cycle. Working with pollsters, DSPolitical developed models for voters that were and were not likely to be religious. These model segments were then targeted with pre-roll video ads specifically tailored to their attitudes on marriage equality and designed to get voters discussing the issue. Over the course of the campaign, specific pre-roll video ad campaigns would be undertaken targeting communities that needed to be won over or turned out in large numbers. African-Americans, married couples with children, young voters, and more were targeted with individualized messages crafted for each group to achieve maximum impact. In the end, the effort to write discrimination into the state constitution was defeated by more than 100,000 votes and DSPolitical received the gold Pollie for its work helping to defend equality in Minnesota. Less than one year later, same-sex marriage became legal in the Land of 10,000 Lakes thanks to the state legislature and Governor.

In Washington, DSPolitical worked with supporters of an initiative that would legalize marijuana in the Evergreen State. Working with supporters of the initiative, it was determined through extensive polling that the key to victory would be winning over mothers. Before DSPolitical began it’s extensive pre-roll video ad campaign targeting mothers who vote, internal polling indicated three percent of such voters had seen digital ads supporting the “Yes on 502” campaign. Just one month after the pre-roll video ad campaign began, that number increased more than six-fold with 19 percent of targeted mothers indicating they’d seen digital ads supporting “Yes on 502.” Such a shift was dramatic and decisive leading The Atlantic to call mothers one of the “secret ingredients” for marijuana legalization. On November 6, 2012 voters in Washington State approved the legalization of marijuana by a margin of more than 300,000 votes – 55 percent to 45 percent. DSPolitical received the silver Pollie for its work supporting the initiative.