Former President Barack Obama is using digital-media company ATTN: as a mouthpiece to reach millennials — with a new video aimed at getting young Americans to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
“Look, a lot of our elected officials are misinformed,” Obama says in the video.
At another point, Obama ribs Republican senators who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “like they’d never used the internet before… because they haven’t.”
“Here’s your chance to vote for people who actually know what the internet is,” Obama says. “You wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist. Why would you let them pick your representative who’s going to determine your future?”
ATTN: said the Obama video is not a paid political ad, and that the 4.5-minute segment was entirely funded and produced by the company. He’s the second high-profile Democrat that ATTN: has worked with on a get-out-the-vote initiative: Last month, it launched a new weekly political-issues series hosted by former VP Joe Biden on Instagram’s IGTV and other platforms, set to run through the November elections.
True, the former president’s message is not overtly pushing a political agenda. But by aligning itself with Obama and Biden, ATTN: is showing its left-leaning sympathies — and making no bones about the fact that the media outlet “that entertains and informs” is dedicated to promoting progressive policies. And that’s on-brand for ATTN:, which co-founder Matthew Segal recently told Variety is aspiring to be “the HBO of mid-form content.”
“We’re thrilled to have worked with President Obama on this video that also happens to have a critically important message for young voters,” Matthew Segal, ATTN:’s co-founder, said in a statement. “Public officials who understand the way media has evolved know that they need to get their message out to young voters on social media, and often through shareable, mobile-friendly videos.”
In the new video, Obama shoots down seven common excuses for not voting, including “my vote doesn’t matter” and “midterm elections are boring.”
Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said the stakes are high in this year’s midterms elections, and “that’s why President Obama is delivering a message directly to young voters in this light-hearted, millennial-focused video: that contrary to internet myths, voting is the easiest and most powerful way for them to hold our elected officials accountable.”
ATTN:, founded in 2014, has raised about $24 million from investors including Evolution Media Capital, Main Street Advisors, Marc Rowan and Paul Wachter.
Listen to Variety’s “Strictly Business” podcast with ATTN:’s Matthew Segal: