Snapping up the Gen Z and Millennial Voters

Snapchat politics
by Emily Beth Longhurst
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Young millennials find politics boring. There are exceptions of course, but this is the rule. How do we know? Either because we were once young and apathetic, or perhaps the lack of turn out at the polls. Young people have always been an underrepresented group on polling day, and yet indeed a powerful voting segment. So how did the recent US electoral candidates try and snap up these votes? Snapchat of course. Both parties used snapchat to attract votes, yet neither candidate was able to harness the tool successfully to equate to substantial increase in participation on polling day. “That rate (millennial and gen z) falls well below the estimated general voter turnout rate of roughly 58 percent.” According to CIRCLE data.

A Business that has used snapchat effectively to gain the attention of this key voting group is Gatorade. Gatorade pioneered a successful ad campaign utilising the social media platform by authentically understanding the demographic.

Gatorade used the power of their celebrity endorsement, tennis ace Serena Williams, coupled with a timely Snapchat filter. The filter showed the tennis star being dunked by a bucket of Gatorade during the super bowl, a la the football tradition of dunking the winning teams coach with the sports mocktail.  The Serena filter was of course inter changeable on the handset with the users face. The interchangeable face filter was reportedly viewed more than 100 million times.

Trump and Clinton were the first ever political candidates to use snapchat to entice voters. Both campaigns purchased geo filters to promote their presidential bids. Clintons camp featured an “I’m with her” slogan whilst Trumps more controversial debate day chant read, “Debate Day, Donald J Trump V Crooked Hillary.” Trump being unpopular with millennial voters from the get go was essentially mocked for his inclusion of the word “crooked,” whilst Hillary didn’t authentically connect with the millennials she was trying to reach.

Snapchat is different to traditional media. Snapchat campaigns done well are clever, witty and unconventional. Gatorade understood how to harness the social platform to connect with the millennial market, and if that wasn’t enough threw in a celebrity endorsement as the cherry on top. To turn snaps into votes Hillary had to do the same, the same but different. Hillary had an opportunity to show young voters that she understood them, that she could connect with them, and that she could snapchat with them. Hilary needed to show voters a back stage glimpse into her life; an unedited, if  edited glimpse of camp Clinton.

According to MediaKix  “60% of all smartphone users are now on snapchat. Millennials account for 7 out of 10 snapchat users.” if anyone had the opportunity to snap up the millennial vote it was Hillary.

Whilst team Clinton made a gallant effort, building a unique filter where users could insert their own face under a Hillary-esque bouffant, whilst wearing her famed pant suit, the attempt failed to motivate the millennial voters to participate on polling day. Young millennials want more. They want access all areas, backstage glimpses and manufactured authenticity.

What is Manufactured authenticity? The recently coined term portrays a real, if not so real moment, (think “reality” everything.) A “real” back stage glimpse into the life of Hillary Clinton if you will, would have helped capture the millennial and generation z segment. For example, a 10 second snap with Clinton seen sharing a beer and clinking glasses in cheers with her mates, Jay Z and Beyonce wouldn’t have gone astray! A snap of this nature would have shown Hillary in a different light, challenged the establishment stereotype, connected with users, and probably even have gone viral all whilst snapping up the millennial and get z votes. Future political campaigns should be looking to successful business ad campaigns such as the Gatorade campaign for insight in how to connect with and snap up this key voting group.

by Emily Beth Longhurst
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