Vote or La Chancla

A week before the 2016 US presidential election a few of the Latino folk at Anomaly and I got together to see if we could create something that would encourage Latino voters to get out the vote using creative technology.

We decided to use ‘La Chancla’ as a device to motivate action.

The Idea

‘La Chancla’ is an icon of Latino culture and a device that would strike fear into the eyes of every misbehaving child. In my British culture the equivalent force was known as ‘The Slipper’, and I felt its wrath too many times as a kid.

Jumping off the hypothesis of ‘could encouraging people to state publicly that they intent to go out and vote make them accountable to take action?’, we designed a system that provided the satisfaction of giving Trump a ‘chanclazo’ around the face with a chancla if you publicly tweeted your intention to go out and vote. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get access to Trump himself for this so we used a 6in tall bobblehead proxy, and created a tiny, 3D printed Chancla fastened to an Arduino-powered machine to do the slapping. Then connected it to Twitter using NodeJS.

Send a Tweet, Slap Trump, Get a GIF

As novel as this was, we came up with a few features to help people engage, and spread this idea. I designed visibility into the participation in the hope that it would encourage others to do the same. I hacked together a way to quickly to create a personalized and sharable asset that we could automatically tweet back to the user as a reward for their participation. We used the language of The Internet; a personalized GIF generated on every interaction that showed the user’s profile image, their tweet and our tiny Trump getting chanclazo’d on their behalf.

A second camera was used to live stream the scene to the site.

Mapping the system really helped manage the complexity during the rapid build.

And then after the election was over, the slapper became useful for other things.