Biden Campaign to Target Young Voters With New Ads During 2020 MTV Video Music Awards: Exclusive

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Joe Biden’s campaign is set to launch two new commercials during the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday (Aug. 30) in an effort to engage the show's Generation Z and millennial viewers, the Democratic presidential hopeful’s campaign tells Billboard exclusively.

One of the ads, titled “Everybody Vote,” is based around an energetic rap that emphasizes the importance of voting and ends by referencing a website that gives more information on how to do so in each state. The song was created by producer Kosine. Utilizing lyrics that reference “justice and peace,” the video also displays photos of California senator Kamala Harris -- Biden’s vice presidential running mate -- at Pride in 2019. Hot issues “social justice” and “climate change” are featured in big block letters, along with the word “vote.”

Another 30-second ad that’s set to air during the VMAs makes a nod to the global coronavirus pandemic and recent calls for racial justice by showing a college activist creating a Black Lives Matter poster and wearing a mask to protest in Tallahassee. “We have to continue the activism, we have to continue protesting, but we also have to go out and vote,” Adrianna Williams, national co-chair for Biden for Students, says in the commercial.

The ads, along with the hashtag #TheNewAdministration, are a part of ongoing campaign efforts to capture the attention of young voters, including the Gen Z teens who will be eligible to vote in this year’s election. According to The Hill, the generation is “the most racially and ethnically diverse group in U.S. history.”

A recent study by Pew Research Center says the age group is more likely than any other generation to want an activist government and share similar views to millennials on race relations and climate change. Still, while many Gen Z voters plan to support Biden, “youth activists and organizers are not yet sold on a party many feel does not listen to them and is unsure of how to communicate with them,” The Hill reports.

"The MTV Video Music Awards has historically been a night filled with thrilling and noteworthy moments that often shape the national conversation. This year's show is undoubtedly one of the must-see live television events happening over the next 65 days that will capture diverse and engaged audiences across the nation,” Kamau Marshall, director of strategic communications for the Biden campaign, tells Billboard about the two ads. “‘Everybody Votes’ is a vibrant visual display that serves as the perfect opportunity for us to touch on the issues a Biden-Harris administration would prioritize on day one.”

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The commercials are just one part of the Biden-Harris campaign’s efforts to engage young voters. ABC News reports the campaign pushed to target Gen Z and millenials digitally with ads on sites such as Complex and Univision throughout the Republican National Convention, during which President Donald Trump officially accepted the party’s nomination. Other recent initiatives aimed at engaging young voters have featured celebrities, such as a video with Golden State Warriors player Steph Curry and his family endorsing Biden, and a chat between the Democratic presidential hopeful and Cardi B for Elle.

The 2020 MTV VMAs air at 8 p.m. ET.