As the perplexing storm that is American politics rages on, countless groups are working to encourage voter turnout ahead of this year’s midterm elections. One of these groups is Acronym, an organization formed last year that’s dedicated to getting Democratic candidates elected.
With midterm elections around the corner, Acronym is currently trying to get young people—who historically have posted lower voter turnout rates than their older peers—to register to vote. To achieve its mission to get more young people off the sidelines and into voting booths, the group recently released a series of tongue-in-cheek, if not dark, films that mainly aim to scare millennials into casting a ballot this year.
The campaign, created pro-bono by Nail Communications, features some senior citizens talking straight into the camera as they explain why they’d prefer it if young people didn’t vote this year. The one-minute ad portrays elderly voters as out-of-touch conservatives who aren’t concerned with or bothered by the issues of today. For instance, one older woman blankly states that climate change is a “you problem,” explaining that she’ll be dead soon anyway. Another woman simply says she “can’t keep track of which lives matter.”
At the end of the video, the aging men and women describe themselves as “doers, not whiners,” taking the opportunity to mock young people for failing to exercise their right to vote. One woman sarcastically suggests that millennials can “go to one of those little marches”—a dig at the massive Women’s March that was held the day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017— instead of voting this year.
The point of the effort is to remind young people that Baby Boomers are essentially calling the shots when it comes to who is elected to office: according to the US Census Bureau, 70.9 percent of citizens 65 years and older voted in the last election, while only 46.1 percent of those aged 18-29 did. What’s more, a recent report from Pew Research Center found that millennials have “consistently underperformed in terms of voter turnout in midterm elections” compared with boomers when they were the same age.
“Every election we tell young people to vote. And every election they don’t,” said Alec Beckett, creative director at Nail. “What if we told them not to vote? The ‘we’ are people who vote regularly and have put this country on the path it is and whose continued influence depends on young voters staying home on election day: old people.”
The campaign, which also includes three 15-second spots, will run on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Hulu and YouTube via Acronym’s six-figure media budget. The effort is part of the group’s Knock the Vote campaign, a program designed to get more people registered to vote and to the polls.
“Unfortunately there are still too many reasons why so many Americans don’t get to the polls on Election Day, not least of which is how difficult some states, mainly those run by Republican majorities, have made it for people to exercise their democratic right to vote,” said Tara McGowan, founder and CEO of Acronym. “Acronym is doing everything it can to counter those efforts by providing more voters with the information and tools they need to register to vote and show up to the polls on Election Day—particularly with nontraditional creative campaigns that speak to people who have been less likely to vote in previous midterm elections.”
Creative Director: Alec Beckett, Brian Gross
Senior Copywriter: Rodrigo DeLima
Agency Producer: Lizzi Weinberg
Producer/Director: Lee Beckett
Co-Producer: John Block
Cinematographer: Andreas Burgess
Gaffer: Yaphet Jackman
1st AC: George Alvarez
2nd AC: Bugsy Gabriel
Media Manager: Joann Syrek
Sound Mixer: Dennis Rainaldi
Hair/Make Up: Mia Bauman
Casting Director: Susan Shopmaker
Casting Assistant: Emily Fleischer
Colorist: Charlie Rokosny
Post Production Re-Recordist: Mike Frank
A special thanks to the companies that provided donations including studio space from Brooklyn Fire Proof, Red Epic Dragon camera package, lenses and lighting from Hand Held Films and gratis color conform and sound mixing from Final Frame, NYC.