There’s a new trend in U.S. politics, and it’s a head-scratcher.
Celebrities — including pop stars Katy Perry and Madonna — are going nude to encourage undecided U.S. voters to side with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
In a NSFW Funny or Die video, Perry talks about the importance of voting on Nov. 8, and says you can show up to the voting booth in whatever you sleep in. In her case, she sleeps naked, so… off come her clothes.
“Yup, I’ve briefly scanned the constitution,” she says, “and nowhere does it say you can’t just roll out of bed and come to the polls in whatever state you woke up in.”
Needless to say, Perry is then thrown into the back of a police car in the video. (It should go without saying that Americans shouldn’t follow Perry’s advice to the letter, but why not make it easier on yourself and show up in your PJs?)
Max Valiquette, the Vice-President and Head of Planning at publicity firm Publicis, thinks the nudity approach is a totally acceptable strategy.
“It’s about creating something that goes ‘viral,’ as they say,” he says. “It’s neither a good nor bad strategy, in that it’s not the only answer. It’s part of larger efforts to get people to vote (doesn’t matter what the campaign does, if there’s no easy registration mechanism, nothing will matter). It’s also pop culture doing what pop culture does best: humour, sex. It’s the stock in trade. It would be a lot odder for Katy Perry to do something super serious for this.”
Pop legend Madonna followed Perry’s lead, posting a nude photo of herself to Twitter and Instagram.
Wearing only a grill and some jewelry, Madonna pledged her support for Clinton. She closes her caption with “Nude Voting series #1,” indicating that there may be more to come.
She then posted an image to Instagram with Clinton superimposed between her legs.
“Yes I vote for intelligence,” she writes. “Get out and Vote.”
Even the millennial generation is getting into the swing of this whole nude-voting thing. Sorta. Kendall Jenner, younger sister of Kim Kardashian, showed up in New York City’s Times Square on Tuesday to spread the word about National Voter Registration Day.
She bared much of her midriff, which is fairly standard for Kardashian-Jenner public appearances, but Jenner then took an “under boob” shot for Snapchat.
Not even men are exempt from this questionable recruitment trend. In mid-September, Robert Downey Jr. offered to show a Mark Ruffalo nude scene if Americans cast a vote for anyone aside from Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Heck, even Canadians can’t avail themselves of trying to trade nudity/sex in exchange for votes.
During the 2015 Canadian federal election, a group calling themselves VOTES4NUDES (a.k.a. Sluts Against Harper — which, incidentally, was a trending hashtag on Twitter at the time) would send out a personalized nude photo for every person who voted against Conservative candidate Stephen Harper.
So what, exactly, is going on here? Do marketers (and celebrities, apparently) think that the best way to reach the millennial generation is to put sex into the mix? Is promising nudity the easiest method to reach the American mainstream? Is it the old “sex sells” adage? Is it really beneficial to render a tremendously serious issue into something trivial?
Amanda Alvaro, President of Pomp and Circumstance PR, thinks these celebs’ approach is actually a very effective one.
“In an era where we’re bombarded by thousands of messages daily, you need to stand out and ideally find a message and a medium that’s shareable at its core,” she said. “Truth is, the more provocative, humourous, poignant the message, the more likely it is to be consumed and shared. Using sex, nudity and celebrity in a humourous way to engage an audience isn’t turning a serious issue into a joke, it’s finding an effective way to make people pay attention.”
Alvaro goes one further, saying that these methods may actually increase interest in people who had already detached from the current political climate.
“If [this approach is] done well, like the Funny or Die video or the Save the Vote video, it has the promise of reaching people who might otherwise be disengaged from a purely political or policy oriented discussion,” she said. “One of the most important votes in history is going to happen on Nov. 8, so I say use whatever means and tools are at your disposal to encourage Americans to register, to discourage apathy and to get out the vote.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.