MTV says “Elect This” to Millennials

MTV is telling millennials to “Elect This” and vote in November.

The network has an edgy campaign to get millennials, who are often criticized for being too entitled, to show that they care enough about politics to take action. This might seem like mission impossible, but MTV had a genius idea: only talk about issues that millennials care about because they’re directly affected by them.

Basically MTV wants to inspire people to go from watching Real World to actually doing something to change it. And yes, I’ve watched the show — many times.

The main spot touches on gun control, student debt, immigration, LGBT rights, and the war on drugs. It’s a very upbeat video that features an “Elect what?” “Elect this!” call-back chant. We’ve also heard (and seen first-hand in some cases) that millennials are narcissistic, so it makes perfect sense that this video ends with a re-purposed Leonardo DiCaprio quote saying, “You are the last best hope of Earth.” Talk about inflating egos, but can someone really go from unpaid intern to the best hope for Earth in under a minute? That’s pretty scary.

If you aren’t sick of the election yet, then you’re really in luck because this campaign is a lot more than just one video. There’s a whole “Infographica” series, which is a collection of 30-second clips featuring quick-hit facts about many of the same hot button issues from the first video. Give it a watch if you care to find out what percentage of millennials support gun control.

I find this interesting because it seems like more of a peer pressure tactic doesn’t it? What happens when you find out that you don’t agree with 80% of people your age? I would think this would make you less likely to want to vote, but then again I think it’s crazy to pay $5 for a single slice of pizza even if it is “artisan,” so what do I know about millennials?

Just when you thought it was over, there’s more! This is starting to feel like an infomercial, but MTV added another leg on to this campaign with a “Robot Roundtable” video series. This is a big shift from focusing on the seriousness of issues, to making fun of them with talking stuffed animals. It appeals to a totally different audience from the first two ideas, so if weed smoking parrots is more of your wheelhouse, then give these a watch.

Finally, there’s a celebrity component that features Melissa McCarthy and Common among others telling the viewer their stance on the important issues. Again I find myself asking “how will this convince people to vote?”

This campaign truly has something for every millennial, but the biggest thing I take away is that neither candidate is mentioned – at all. Not sure if that says more about the mindset of millennials, or the quality of our nominees, but 74% of voters age 18-35 have said that they’re embarrassed by the current election because it reminds them of a bad reality show (and MTV seems to know enough about those).

Every 4 years we can count on MTV doing an election campaign, but do they really work? We see stats about issues millennials care about, but where are the stats that prove MTV actually influenced people to go out and vote? If they’re not making an impact, then they’re just adding more to all this election noise. Maybe MTV should treat these campaigns like they treat music videos now – just not show them.


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