American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Southern Collective GOTV Campaign

2020 saw the highest voter turnout on record. We were proud to contribute to that record through a campaign for the ACLU Southern Collective to increase voter turnout and begin developing long-term relationships with Black and Latino Millennial and Generation Z citizens in the rural South.

Five of the 10 states with the largest Black population in the country are in the South, and six of the 10 states that have the highest percentage of Black residents are in the South. The Latino population in the South continues to grow, representing about half (52%) of all U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2019, according to Pew Research Center. Research from Pew Research Center also shows the Latinx population has grown faster in the South than in any other U.S. region since 2010, rising by 26 percent.

The United States has a long history of ignoring the needs of Black and Brown communities–and several instances of devising policies that are particularly damaging to these communities. The rise of Trump–and the attendant rise of white nationalist and supremacist rhetoric and action–made the 2020 election one of the most important in the country’s history, and voters of color have been the difference makers in elections for the past several decades. In addition to supporting efforts to get young Black and Latino citizens more engaged in the 2020 election cycle, we also sought to help the ACLU Southern Collective understand how to improve their outreach and communication efforts to rural communities of color in order to build long-term relationships that advance social justice and civil liberties.


We quickly learned there is no real agreement on what the term “rural” means. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), notes that “many definitions” of rural are used by researchers and policy officials, which “reflects the reality that rural and urban and multidimensional concepts.” According to USDA, population thresholds used to differentiate rural and urban communities range from 2,500 up to 50,000.

For our research, we used a broad definition of “rural” voters and potential voters in an attempt to collect data from Black and Latino Millennial and GenZ voters who are not urban or part of major metropolitan areas. This approach will include combining “pure rural” voters and potential voters with some suburban voters and potential voters. Also, our lived experience as Black Millennials and Gen Z marketers helped us understand that many Black and Latino Americans living in Southern cities have migrated from smaller rural towns and maintain those rural connections throughout their lives.

Services Provided

Project Management
Market Research – Opinion Polling
Market Research – Key Informant Interviews
Communications Strategy
GOTV and Voter Engagement Strategy
Message Development
Graphic Design
Video Production
Motion Graphic Design
Media Planning and Placement


Without a single definition of rural, we had to use creative ways to target GOTV ads to reach Black and Latino Americans in rural communities, which ultimately meant using behavioral, demographic, and psychographic proxies to complement geographic targeting. We used contextual and prospecting targeting along with behavioral interests to create well-defined audiences of low propensity, unlikely, and first-time voters. We also developed ads that spoke directly to the issues Black and Latino Generation Z and Millennial Americans care about based on the research and centered the creative on Black and Latino faces and voices.