Ask any non-politically inclined college students about their views on public policy, and you are likely to be met with their eyes glazing over and an excuse about finishing homework.
Leonardo DiCaprio and his production company, Appian Way, have tried a different tactic in eliciting votes in the upcoming election. Their new public service announcement to get out the vote is scintillatingly titled “Vote4Stuff,” and was released yesterday. While it may be reminiscent of a phrase used on AOL Instant Messenger back in the early 2000s, the PSA employs some effective techniques in garnering attention of the younger demographic of voters.
Throughout the video, celebrities including Selena Gomez, Jonah Hill, Ellen DeGeneres and Zac Efron comment on what would elicit their vote in an election—however over the top the new laws would be. Some of my favorite lines include:
Selena Gomez: “I vote yes to anything Zac Efron says.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “End dubstep now.”
Ellen DeGeneres: “I would not have red and blue states. I would have like fuchsia and seafoam…prettier.”
Edward Norton: “North Carolina and South Carolina would have to come up with their own original, unique names. I think this should apply with the Dakotas as well.”
Humor is obviously the tool most intelligently used in the PSA. It’s refreshing to see celebrities encourage community involvement in a nonpartisan way. Although there are subtle endorsements in the second, more serious, half of the video, the PSA is nonetheless attention-getting. Vote4Stuff isn’t asking the viewer to agree with Sarah Silverman and her stance on women’s reproductive rights, it’s asking the viewer to have a stance on SOMETHING. Vote4Stuff then asks the viewer to express those views in a video, and upload it to their Facebook page or Twitter with the hashtag #vote4stuff to get a political conversation going.
The Vote4Stuff campaign is certainly similar to the Rock The Vote campaign that has been around for over 20 years. Designed to engage younger voters, the campaign blends pop culture and celebrity politics to foster political action among young people. However, if there were a competition between celebrity voting PSAs of 2012, I side with that of Vote4Stuff. It is more refreshing, engaging, and simpler than Rock the Vote. Vote4Stuff even pokes fun at the somewhat tired campaign that is Rock the Vote. While the videos are similar in their layout (celebrities speaking in funny quips standing against a neutral background), Rock the Vote goes in the decidedly more explicit and offensive route.
Rock the Vote’s PSA: