- By Tre’ Goins-Phillips
- Published: April 1st, 2014
If the GOP has any hopes of political revival in 2016, it must seek to actively engage millenials’ interests
Phrases like “edgy,” “ahead of the curve,” “cutting-edge” and “hip” are not what we think when we see an advertisement, article or statement endorsing the Republican Party. It seems as if the Democratic Party has moved forward, leaving the Grand Old Party (GOP) in the dust of their laced-up hipster boots.
The Republican National Committee has kicked off an advertisement campaign starring Scott Greenberg, a young, hip Public Relations firm owner from Washington, D.C.
“So much of my paycheck ends up going to gas,” Greenberg said in the advertisement. “We haven’t even talked about my heating bill at home.”
However, from the moment the 30-second web promo starts until the screen fades to black, you can tell Greenberg is reading off of a teleprompter. His words may be true, but they could not sound more lifeless.
I could not tell you if it is Greenberg’s lack of eye contact or his straight reading off the script that is more distracting. In any case, this cheap attempt to compete with the millennial zeal of President Barack Obama’s marketing techniques is a flop.
Here is my proposal to the GOP: Get new marketing. Too often, we speak too kindly of those we align with, whether it be politically or otherwise. Honesty is the only way to fix the campaigning problem.
Forty-eight percent of millennials say word-of-mouth is their sole influence, according to a 2010 Intrepid Study. That being the case, advertisement campaigns must be personal, emotional and reminiscent of our experiences. After all, if what we are seeing does not draw us in, more interesting content is only a click, swipe or scroll away.
I could place two advertisements in front of you on the economy: one talking about quantitative easing and monetary economics and the other telling you a story of a single dad, working two jobs, trying to raise his 7-year-old daughter.
We are more often drawn to the latter. It is raw and vulnerable. It is human. We are hearing a story — not getting a lesson in statistics and economics. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) gets this, even to a fault.
Emotions and entitlement have taken center stage in the ongoing battle over the heated contraception controversy. Religious liberty is being threatened, in part, because of the DNC successfully pandering to our natural self-centered desires — a difficult strategy to compete with.
According to the Pew Research Center, only 50 percent of all eligible voters from age 18-28 voted in the 2012 election. In order to be successful in the 2014-midterm elections, and ultimately the 2016 presidential election, the GOP needs to depoliticize politics. Ditch the establishment “politics as usual,” and jump on board with Rand Paul-style energy.
In the grand scheme of elections, you want to make real connections. When Americans see an advertisement campaign, they want to see themselves on the screen. In other words, it cannot be “the Republicans say” or “the Democrats say.”
As a millennial myself, I can tell you, I want to see something that resonates with me. That is why Paul’s campaign style works. I care about Internet freedom and privacy. So do millions of other 20-somethings.