President Joe Biden recently announced he’s running for re-election, flooding Facebook with ads targeting voters in key swing states. But one of Biden’s ad campaigns is notable for the bizarre decision to use a style that looks like a Notes app screenshot.
“If we’ve learned anything over these past years it’s this: Never underestimate this grassroots team. Your support made it possible for us to win in 2020 and make all the progress we have since achieved. Right now, I need to have your support in order to complete the task and win 2024. Chip in,” the text in the new Facebook ad reads.
The ad, which you can see below and online at the Facebook Ad Library, is done in the style of a screenshot from someone’s iPhone. Taking screenshots of longer messages on the Notes app was first popularized on Twitter in the early 2010s, back when Twitter’s character limit only reached 140. Users began to post screenshots of their long messages, particularly when celebrities were making heartfelt apologies.
You can even see the battery, wifi and cell signal icons in the image, though on closer inspection you can see those were added digitally and this wasn’t a real screenshot taken for the campaign.
Facebook’s new campaign, which began on 10 May, targeted the states with the largest populations, such as California, New York and Texas. But the most interesting demographic information we can glean from Facebook’s Ad Library is perhaps that Biden is targeting Baby Boomers the most heavily. But not only Boomers. Women can be a part of the workforceAs you can clearly see in the graph below.
Boomers have historically been an important voting bloc, if only because of the generation’s size. In the United States, Boomers born between 1946 and 64 are aged 77. While the youngest boomers age 59. And given the large number of Boomers in the U.S., many companies and institutions had to adjust to accommodate them—from new schools being built when they were young, to new services for the elderly as they retired.
But it’s important to note that Boomers aren’t the biggest generation anymore. Pew Research reports that Millennials born between 1981-1996 will surpass Boomers as the largest generation in 2020. And they’re voting in larger numbers too.
Biden’s online campaign may target older boomers, but his attention to younger voters will be critical in 2024. Voters under 30 favored Biden over Donald Trump by a huge margin in 2020—Biden 59%, Trump 35%—but more recent polling shows Biden struggling with younger voters. FiveThirtyEight data shows that while 56% of under-30s approved of Biden when he began his presidential term, this number has dropped to 36% over the past two years.
Biden’s decision to target Boomers is logical, even if it was only because Boomers have more money and can help him fund his campaign. Biden must appeal to a larger number of young people to defeat Trump in 2024, as most assume that Trump will be the Republican nominee for president again. And a Notes app screenshot probably isn’t the way to say you understand the needs and desires of younger Americans.
Dark Brandon merchandise on the other hand, might be just the way to reach those Millennials—a group that’s no longer “young” by any stretch of the imagination.