Now that the first presidential debate of 2016 is under our belts, election season is officially in full swing.
Regardless of personal opinions on the subject about who actually won (Clinton supporters say she, Trump supporters say he), the “debate of the century” proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is truly the most dividing, emotion-inducing election to date. From teenage gen Zers to the most silent of the silent generation, everyone has an opinion – whether extreme or somewhere in between. And based on the numbers, millennial opinions have the opportunity to be the most powerful when it comes to deciding our country’s next POTUS.
The question is: will they utilize that power and actually make their way to the polls?
Millennials are today’s largest group of potential voters
According to a recent analysis of U.S Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center, millennials are now equivalent to baby boomers when it comes to voting-age members. The millennial generation is comprised of 69.2 million adults age 18 and over, in comparison to boomer’s 69.7 million, making both populations the largest groups of the American electorate at 31 percent, respectively. This percentage is only set to increase for millennials as their youngest counterparts continue to reach voting age, whilst boomers percentage will undoubtedly decrease as they grow older, giving millennials the most clout.
Data indicates millennials have lowest voter turnout
Despite growing population number of voter-eligible millennials, the Census Bureau’s November voting supplements show that millennials are far from the largest group of actual voters. Even with the great potential for their voices to be heard through their votes, past elections show that they talk the talk but don’t necessarily walk the walk. In 2012, only 46 percent of eligible millennial voters made it to the polls – lowest across generations – and particularly low when considering the Silent Generation’s whopping 72 percent. The same is true for 2008, when only 50 percent of millennials made it compared to 61 percent of generation X voters and even more of older generations.
When it comes to this election, Pew estimates that millennials will need more than 58 percent of their voting-age members to participate for their voting power to be equivalent to their electorate share.
Clever marketing as a catalyst for change
So what can be done to get millennials to cast more ballots this November? Doritos thinks clever marketing might be one answer.
In partnership with not-for-profit group Rock the Vote, which aims to get young people to build and engage their political power, Doritos launched a new product line of flavorless, crunchless chips equipped in the dullest of gray packaging with the tagline, “No Taste, No Crunch, No Choice.” On the campaign’s microsite, www.doritosredvsblue.com, visitors can either vote for Doritos Nacho Cheese (in classic red packaging) or Doritos Cool Ranch (in classic blue packaging) or else face the unappetizing option of getting a No Choice bag, meant to symbolize just how disappointing not voting can be. The most important aspect of the site, however, is the quick and easy option for these visitors to register and pledge to vote via a connection to Rock the Vote’s webpage.
Additionally, Doritos placed fully functioning, interactive vending machines on college campuses that ask people whether or not they are registered to vote before they are allowed to select an item. Those who select “no” are dispensed the bland chips, reinforcing the campaign idea. College campuses in Denver, Chicago and Madison will also be part of a bus tour by Doritos and Rock the Vote to encourage voter participation among the millennial generation.
“This election season, Doritos believes the boldest choice is making a choice,” explained Jennifer Saenz, Doritos senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We have always believed every single person can make an impact – we all have a voice and it’s important we exercise that voice and be heard. Our campaign reinforces the idea that if you don’t make a choice, someone else chooses for you.”
While only time will tell if the Doritos’ campaign will succeed in getting millennials to take political action, it is already claiming major success when it comes to consideration for its focus on social responsibility and conscious capitalism – two significant drivers of millennial loyalty and purchase.