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Don’t Count on BuzzFeed Sponsored Posts to Win the Millennials

The chattering classes were all abuzz yesterday about a sponsored post on everyone’s favorite site to visit for kitty pic listicles and condescending literary rants. (Wait, what?)

Here’s the story: In an amusingly blatant attempt to push its talking points to those young folks who will determine the future of politics in this country, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation illustrated its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with BuzzFeed‘s trademark combination of one-liners and GIFs.

OMG CUTE LOL! But will it work?

We say meh. :-/

This isn’t the first time a political party has aped the BuzzFeed model. We would tell them all to stop trying, but we know they wouldn’t listen as the BF is currently “eating everyone’s lunch” and “making people want to read and be cognizant of politics in a different way.” Lame.

Now, we could discuss the misleading generalizations in these talking points or the fact that Heritage was the first group to propose the very health insurance “mandate” that they all hate so much now (notice how they didn’t mention that one). But we’ll leave that to the pundits, because there’s a larger point to be made here. The post was, by any real measure, a bust. Readers clicked “fail” and “trashy” far more often than any of those other annoying “your reaction?” buttons, and for good reason: it wasn’t funny, informative or well-done. Try as we might, we just can’t imagine Heritage president Jim DeMint watching Glee, because he doesn’t think lesbians or unmarried mothers should be allowed to teach in public schools. And did anyone notice that the GIFs are all at least a couple of years old?

Health insurance is a complicated issue that’s very difficult to explain via one-liners, and Millennials understand that (shocking, we know). Despite what Heritage may think, young people are not idiots—and they’re particularly wary of their parents’ lame attempts to speak their language by dumbing everything down.

Don’t condescend to your audience. And find some new GIFs, please. Get your interns on it.

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