A riddle: What is European and sounds like “two old white men shouting at each other in a room with no windows?” The answer, according to Adam&EveDDB CEO James Murphy: The EU referendum debate.
Today, his agency has launched its own social media campaign, #DontFuckMyFuture, to cut through the mudslinging and mobilize younger voters on June 23, when Britain votes on whether to remain in the EU. The under-25 demographic has seen a low turnout at past polls.
“It was the young guys who came up with it. For them, it feels like a lot of older people are going to decide their future. It’s a simple way of expressing passion,” Murphy said.
The campaign is a video series featuring different celebs explaining what they can do in five seconds, the time it takes to mark a ballot paper. In a clear bid to appeal to the target audience, there’s U.K. grime star Big Narstie, model-turned-entrepreneur Lily Cole and One Direction’s drummer Josh Devine.
“It only takes me five seconds to stretch my legs,” says Cole in her clip. “And it only takes five seconds to mark an X in the ballot box. Five seconds to stop others fucking with your future.”
Influencer Poppy Jamie, the host of Snapchat’s first chat show, “Pillow Talk With Poppy”, also makes an appearance via a series of Snapchat filters.
Murphy said the project came out of a discussion with Cole and the agency five weeks ago over the age group’s low turnout. According to market research firm Ipsos Mori, 43 percent of people aged 18 to 24 voted in the 2015 election, compared to 78 percent of eligible voters over 65.
So far, attempts to engage with the demographic have seen mixed results. Earlier this year, the Electoral Commission’s “Votey McVoteface” gaff (referencing the Boaty McBoatface meme) went viral ahead of the May elections.
The #Votin campaign set up by the cross-party group Britain Stronger in Europe was widely mocked on social media being out of touch. It depicted young people “Votin” in between “Chillin” and “Ravin.” Though mockery was, apparently, its intended effect.
— Skint London (@SkintLondon) May 25, 2016
Eligible voters under 25 accounted for over 27 percent of sign ups on the U.K. government’s website in the week before the voter registration deadline, which was extended to June 9.
The next hurdle is getting them to turn up on the day itself.
“One thing I know is that dropping g’s and using street slang isn’t going to win them over,” Murphy said.