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  • Writer's pictureSiria Contreras

The Generation We Need

“It’s easier to rally people against something than it is for something.”

That quote just actually played in the background as I was starting this blog entry via the recently cancelled The Patriot Act’s “We’re Doing Elections Wrong” episode. Truer words have rarely been spoken. Most humans need the fire, passion, and “we’re all in this together” or “damn the man” variety of mantras and motivators (and maybe the “Rocky” theme song or Lizzo and Kendrick playing in the background) to “rally” in solidarity, build enough bridges, and spark enough momentum to bring groups of people together towards the same common goal. Others just need to be fed up enough to finally take action, and then there’s the die-hards who need to be directly impacted to FINALLY join in, as this time “it’s personal”.

There is all of this and more happening in America at this moment from both sides of the party lines. I’m actually a little sad that the Patriot Act is coming to an end as although I didn’t watch faithfully (as you already may have deduced since I’m finally watching an episode from June—you’d be surprised to know that I actually don’t watch all that much television, even the on-demand kind. I tend to keep quite busy). Although obviously biased and a little left-leaning (which obviously doesn’t bother me), the show did a really great job of breaking down so many issues, topics, government systems, etc and Hasan Minhaj was the perfect host to guide us down these at-times controversial topics with his quick-thinking/quick-wit, obvious intelligence, and animated yet likeable demeanor.

So while all of this has been playing out in the background and we continue to battle red vs. blue in our social feeds, just like we have via news outlets in public for centuries, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a team of 18-24 year old members of Gen Z based on both the west coast and east coast to re-imagine the "HEAR ME” Gen Z Votes in 2020 campaign that we at Consciously Studio had conceptualized over a year ago. A much larger omnichannel campaign that I ended up putting on hold due to the pandemic and also the quick evolution of this winding road to November 3rd. This campaign overhaul resulted in the forthcoming formal launch of the #BringontheBallot campaign, co-founded by this team of Gen Zers as this time I sidelined my Consciously Studio team instead designating them as advisors to this group in their areas of expertise in an effort to create the most genuine “By Gen Z for Gen Z” campaign that we could.

You will all have an opportunity to meet these young leaders who originate from Los Angeles, Iowa, Michigan, Nashville, Massachusetts, and more, over the next few weeks.

Even while I remain protective of them and their voices, they will ultimately become the faces of this campaign as well as their peers. These are bright, logical, compassionate, creative, innovative, and determined young adults. What strikes me the most is something that I already knew as it is a reason that I resonate so much with that generation (aside from their desire to take action) is that as we’ve created this campaign and identify the various anchors and values that we will root it in, their incredulousness at the fact that in 2020 we are still in a two-party system. They prefer their politics a little more a la carte, sure some of it tinged with more than a little idealism as we have all had a smidgeon of when young, but whether their views are seen as liberal or conservative none of them feel as though they fit into just one party. And then there’s the thought of committing to one for four years.

What this generation cares about are the issues that not only the United States is dealing with but the world as a whole. They care about injustices. We’ll share the results of our poll we conducted around what their top Social Issues currently are in a couple of weeks. Here’s a teaser though, one of their top areas of concerns at this very moment is Voter Suppression a topic around which they’ve been throwing softballs at so far, but expect there to be a bit of a ramp-up against that from them.

While this campaign may not make it to most of my generation or older ones, nor my peers and colleagues as this truly is intended for Gen Z (which by the way they don’t refer to themselves as Gen Z unless they have to) and will primarily unfold across the platforms that they consume in mass Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube as well as other digital distribution channels, it’ll still have passive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and here on our Consciously site, there is still much that any voter in the 2020 election will still benefit from the hard work of these young people.

They represent “ONE IN TEN” eligible voters at this time and that is no joke.

When I say this is a campaign by Gen Z for Gen Z, it truly is. I am working in my spare time to pass on all of my marketing and campaign launching insights and historical knowledge of what works and what doesn’t to this small strategy team and all roles from Creative Director to Video Strategy and Social Media Leads are filled by these young adults some of whom are doing double-duty, just as I am, working either their first jobs or half of them are still in college. To help them further and keep to their tight-launch deadlines, I am also pulling in some of my most trusted colleagues who dominate their fields in the areas of political and economic analytics, city officials, marketers, filmmakers, strategists, and media buyers, etc. By the time November comes around these young adults are going to have had the campaign-launching education of a lifetime.

I look forward to seeing their hard work out in the real-world, but am already proud of everything they’ve accomplished and all of the great leadership abilities that they already innately possess that they are allowing to be shown publicly. as you can see from some of the messages they are sharing so far like this response to the “TikTok” ban rumor and this No time to Register to Vote? video featuring and created by our Social Media lead that they’ve shared and the many, many more campaign levers and elements still to come.

Regardless of the outcome of November’s election, which let’s be honest we can only focus on one outcome, this has served as one of the biggest motivators for small pockets of young people that hopefully will mobilize the rest of their generation and I am glad to be a part of this with them and once their campaign is fully live and out in the world, I hope you will support it too for after all they are the future of this country and world and I can assure you it’s a future that most of us would much rather live in than the present-day we find ourselves in at this moment.


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