October 5, 2023

Young Australians urged to ‘groom a boomer’ to change Yes campaign fortunes

By Hamish Hastie
October 6, 2023 — 3.00am
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A team of Western Australian and Victorian creatives are attempting to take the heat out of the Voice debate with humour, urging children and grandchildren of baby boomers to “groom a boomer” to vote Yes at the October 14 referendum.

The Groom-a-Boomer short film is part of a last-ditch guerilla effort to change the fortunes of the Yes vote by a group of Perth-based marketers independent of the official Yes23 campaign after being disappointed by the tone of the debate.

The tongue-in-cheek video, where one actor suggested taking the TV remote away from baby boomers, is coupled with a call to action to younger generations to convince older family members in their late 50s, 60s and 70s to vote yes.

“I said, ‘Ok, mum, I will change your iPad back from Danish to English if you read this little booklet on the Voice’,” one actor says in the video, which was filmed in Victoria in the past four weeks.

“Your uncle, your dad your mum you might be living in a house full of nos, living in a house of closet home-nos,” another actor says.

The Voice debate has been bogged down in misinformation claims and fears it is whipping up racism across the country.

Berlin Creative directors Richard Berney and John Linton said they came up with the idea because the debate lacked humour and very little communication aimed at changing the minds of baby boomers, of which just one in four plan to vote yes according to polling.

Berney said the tone of the debate worried him.

“A few weeks ago we were like, ‘Jesus, is this it? Is this what the conversations are gonna be like?’,” he said.

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“It doesn’t feel very good.”

Linton said the No campaign slogan – “If you don’t know, vote No” – is the one that hurt.

“When I saw that, and I saw people just opting out, just not finding out, not asking, not having conversations and that being enough, I found that really sad,” said Linton.

Both men praised the Yes 23 campaign, but said it was only resonating with certain sections of society.

“The over 55s are the hardest to move [and] the most likely to vote no,” argued Linon.

“They’re not really going to listen to the big campaigns, but they might listen to their own kids,” he said.

“That was really the reason we got into this. It wasn’t really because we didn’t think the other campaigns are doing a good job. It’s just we thought that there was a section of society that needed a more targeted approach.”

Berney said the video struck a humorous tone to make the conversation easier.

“This subject can actually divide families,” said Berney.

” We took a humorous tone is because I think this can be a really rich and beautiful and interesting conversation in Australia. And if people are avoiding it, I think we’re missing a trick,” he said.

In Perth on Thursday opposition leader and No vote advocate Peter Dutton linked a video that circulated on X (formerly Twitter) of a neo-Nazi burning the Aboriginal flag and threatening senator Lidia Thorpe to the government’s decision to hold the Voice referendum.

John Linton and Richard Berney from Berlin Creative.

“I’m really worried at the moment because, as we know, the Prime Minister’s got us embarked on a path which divides our country,” he said.

“You’re talking about family members against family members, communities, against communities, and it gives rise in this sort of an environment to radical lunatics to make comments like that made in relation to Senator Thorpe.”

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Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s state political reporter.Connect via Twitter or email.
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