“Hoopers Vote” is a basketball-oriented voter registration and education drive. The point is to use NBA and WNBA players, coaches, retired stars and media members to raise public awareness, as Election Day looms.
The initiative has gotten an important assist from a Westport illustrator.
Elliot Gerard is passionate about sports. When the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title, Gerard designed an enormous mural for their arena.
His work has been featured on ESPN, NBC, CBS, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe and Washington Post.
He spent several years as vice president, creative director at a Westport-based marketing firm. He worked with corporate partners like IBM and AT&T — and (back to sports) the Super Bowl.
Gerard is now a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group. Combining “heart” and “talent,” the social strategy and creative content agency recently snagged that Hoopers Vote contract.
When Rock the Vote — the initiative’s sponsor — first contacted Gerard, his thought was to create a digital “mural” with 50 basketball stars. Each would represent one state.
But the artwork was so compelling that everyone wanted more. So far, Heartlent has created nearly 250 “voter graphics.” The goal is 300 by Election Day.
The expanded campaign delights Gerard. “I wanted to reach as many voters as possible,” he says. “The more influencers, the bigger the campaign.”
The graphics include a checkmark — representing the famous “Rock the Vote” logo — going across each face. Click below for a video:
Gerard wanted to give a consistent but unique look to all of the pieces. He used graphics representing a basketball court, voting form, elements from state flags, even US postage symbols (to encourage voters to mail in their ballots).
Gerard says this is one of the biggest and most important projects he’s ever worked with. He and his former boss, Keith Stoeckeler created Heartlent “exactly for campaigns like this. Our mission is to be an agency that puts our entire hearts in not only all our work, but also in the causes we’re part of.”
“I went beyond just telling the overall story of these voters,” Gerard explains.
“I visually explored each hooper’s career and life.” He added easter eggs and icons representing the teams they played or rooted for, colleges they attended, awards and championships they won, charities they are part of, and other symbols for their lives.
Special stories — like Stephanie Ready as the first woman to coach men’s professional basketball, and Jason Collins as the first openly gay active NBA player — got special representation.
The next step was to create templates that any basketball player — or voter — can use. They can put their face in with their favorite NBA or WNBA team colors.
Now it’s up to the basketball community to get voters registered, and to the polls.
That’s no slam dunk. But thanks to Elliot Gerard, the basketball community will rock the vote.
(To see dozens of “Hoopers Vote” graphics, click here.)