#GOPHipster Ads Try to Reach Young People With Gas-Price Populism. Oops.
How embarrassing. The Republican National Committee’s outreach to young potential voters misses the mark so badly they’re just proving the point they were hoping to disprove: The party is absolutely clueless about young people.
In this brilliantly acted ad, young hepcat “Scott Greenberg” refuses to make eye contact (we’d applaud him for keeping his eyes on the road, except he’s stopped at a gas pump) as he recites his memorized lines.
“I shouldn’t have to check my bank account before I fill up my car,” he gripes to no one in particular, “but soooo much of my paycheck ends up going to gas.” That’s all to say he’s in favor of the GOP’s “all of the above energy policy.”
“I mean, increased domestic energy production doesn’t necessarily lower fuel prices in the U.S. because it is a worldwide market, and ‘all of the above’ is actually the energy policy of both parties,” wrote Alex Pareene in Salon yesterday, “but, you know, ‘whatever,’ as the millennials say. ‘LOL,’ they sext one another. ‘Let’s frack some shale gas, YOLO.’”
What the Republican marketing team doesn’t seem to get is that moaning about gas prices is soooo middle-aged. You know what’s really hot among the kids these days? Not driving. The percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds with drivers licenses is at its lowest point since 1963. Miles driven by people aged 16 to 34 dropped 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The share of new cars bought by 18- to 34-year-olds fell 30 percent from 2007 to 2012. Even the car companies know the jig is up (though they’re still at the “bargaining” stage).
Yet driver solidarity is how the Republican National Committee plans to reconnect with the young voters they’ve lost.
The RNC doubled down on Mr. Tortoiseshell Glasses as the perfect embodiment of the millennial Republican by putting him in another crabby ad (82 thumbs-up on YouTube; 722 thumbs-down) at a gas station — the same gas station, judging by the look of the pump.
Astute Twitter user @ggreeneva noted that Scott is driving an Audi in this ad. And @wexler identified the gas station he frequents as the one of Washington, DC’s most expensive: the notorious Capitol Hill Exxon.
“Maybe this is the guy the @GOP listened to when they sliced commuter benefit for transit users & not Audi drivers,” mused @kmthurman.
A key step to bolstering the GOP’s future with young people might be to fire their PR firm and talk to real young people. They might learn a thing or two about how Americans are getting around these days.