OK, shill: a clothing ad’s obnoxious voterism

A video ad for Levi’s jeans cropped up in my Tiwtter timeline yesterday. Its virality was due to the first three-quarters of its length being a particularly inane get-out-the-vote message, which started with…

You can’t say “OK Boomer” if you don’t vote.

Yes, actually, we can. It’s physically possible.

Slightly longer answer: The “OK Boomer” line has been dirtying up social media for a few years now. with most unironic uses of it being simple ageism with the occasional appeal to blatant generational warfare. If you use it, I’ll think less of you.

I have an opinion on voting, too, but it’s entirely separate form how or if you brush off people you disagree with on social media.


Most of the pushback against the video was against that first line in particular, because it’s the intended pull quote:

There’s more to pick apart in there, though. Like this:

In 2016, 71% of people 65+ voted, compared to less than half of 18-29 year olds.

Some lefties have been known to use “2016” as a scare word, when they want something slightly subtler than “Trump.” I noticed it a couple of times here.

Now, before you tell me your vote “doesn’t count”…

Putting sneer quotes and air quotes around “doesn’t count” doesn’t make someone’s vote count.

…just remember, the 2016 election was decided by fewer than 78,000 votes.

There’s that “2016” again.

This year, 24 million Gen Z’ers are able to vote for the first time. Along with millennials like me, that’ll make up nearly 40% of the 2020 electorate.

Lucky you. Too bad you have no one worth voting for.

The 2020 presidential election is Trump against Biden. There aren’t even any notable third-party campaigns (not that 2016’s third-party candidates were worth a damn, but still). If you wanted to not have a notorious sex pest for a president, you’re out of luck. If your big issue is racism, gun control, or the War on Drugs, the differences the candidates claim to have are mostly them pandering to their bases. One of them is all for capital punishment, and so was the other one until a few minutes ago – more pandering, probably. If you were waiting for a decent human being to seek out that much power, then good luck, Jim. If you’ll settle for a power-hungry, self-aggrandizing toolbag with decent public speaking skills, too bad.

Unless you’re a staunch Republican or Democratic partisan or you’re so disgusted by one of the candidates that you don’t care how awful the other one is, your vote in this election does not count, and anyone telling you otherwise is advertising at you and/or preaching the gospel of statism.

Which is huge, because it means we have the chance to help create a world that looks and acts like we do.

Biden is four years older than Trump, who’s old enough to be a millennial’s grandfather. But sure, voting for Biden will create a world that looks and acts like young people (if you think that little of young people).

But even with our increased diversity and our pride for activism, we’re still way less likely to vote than older people. And they’re actively trying to keep our numbers down.

“They’re.” Boomers invented voter suppression. Gotcha.

In 2018, nearly 30% of young people were never contacted by traditional outreach groups, political parties or campaigns. This type of suppression…

If you don’t get robocalls, it’s voter suppression. Gotcha.

…leads to apathy, negative attitudes about politics and impacts whether or not we cast our vote.

If you have a negative attitude about politicians, you’ve been suppressed. Gotcha.

Oh, and now that I’m done with the video’s “voter suppression” sideline, I’d like to go back to “our pride for activism” for a moment and point out that an activist, who’s spent time building community relations, changing attitudes, challenging dogmas and assumptions, etc. has done the thing that voters only pretend to do.


And then, after some more about voter suppression, comes the video’s real pull quote:

…it’s up to other groups to help maintain an inclusive democracy, so that we’re seen and heard. Levi’s has a long history of supporting authentic self-expression and social causes that define our times. And with the 2020 election around the corner, they’re continuing to do their part.

See? Levi Strauss & Co. isn’t just a steadily successful multinational corporation with a multi-millionaire CEO! It’s maintaining democracy and supporting self-expression!

But we’re not supposed to think about that too hard. We’re supposed to let the name “Levi’s” slide into our subconscious, while another part of our subconscious associates voting (which a lot of us will be thinking about in the next several months) with the personable young influencer in the Levi’s jean shirt. Levi’s. Levi’s. Levi’s, where sneaky shilling never goes out of style.

Can the advertising industry collapse faster, please?

Categories: PiecesTags: ,

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