Getting young people to vote is one of the toughest challengers facing lawmakers and politicians as they scramble to adjust to a rapidly changing environment. Young people, milennials, whatever you call them, don’t think the government is doing anything good (1). A ton of them, myself included, don’t really plan to vote (2), because they think it doesn’t matter, and the cycle will continue regardless. They might be right. That’s not the point. How can you get the next generation of Americans to ingrain into their minds the fact that political action can do anything?
You go negative. You go very, very, terrifyingly negative.
The group “Rock the Vote” has been around for quite a long time, but they have generally been seen as another political action organization that just spends money and has impassioned pleas. Recently, in partnership with New York Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, they have a fresh new campaign.
Their new ads, aimed at pissing people off enough to vote, are part of a strategy called “#CareLikeCrazy.” The ads range from a man talking about voting because, as an arms dealer, he loves war:
to one of the worst types of people talking about upholding the status quo:
to one of the greasiest, most misogynistic ads I’ve ever seen:
Absolutely infuriating to watch. The reason these work so well is because we think people like this do exist. The “average, uninformed American” is a terrifying, but truthful stereotype that we run into everyday. Knowing that these people exist, and taking steps to combat the spread of ignorance and bias is the first step towards creating a better political system. Plus, these ads are funny, in a sad sort of way.
These ads also play into the large debate and discussion among milennials: the people that have come before us have irrevocably screwed things up. From the economy to the environment, we are now having to deal with and fix things that we had no hand in breaking. This sums it up:
Will these ads and PSAs get younger people out to vote?
The next election results will show.
1. Trust in Government Nears Record Low, But Most Federal Agencies Are Viewed Favorably. (2013). Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://www.people-press.org/2013/10/18/trust-in-government-nears-record-low-but-most-federal-agencies-are-viewed-favorably/
2. Low Midterm Turnout Likely, Conservatives More Enthusiastic, Harvard Youth Poll Finds. (n.d.). Harvard University Politics. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Spring-2014-HarvardIOP-Survey?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=hero&utm_campaign=2014Surv
Video 1: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazyAboutWar. Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiJ5_L0dj6E.
Video 2: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazyAboutVotingRights. Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VlQwQhZaoA.
Video 3: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazy”That’sJustSexist.” Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM5KGrTHs24.