Captain Morgan Wants to Lower Presidential Age Requirement

Pandering to Millennials, Rum Brand Starts Campaign to Change Constitution

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Advertising Age Player

It's no secret that marketers are obsessed with millennials. Now a booze brand wants to clear the way for someone in the generation to be president.

Diageo-owned Captain Morgan today began a campaign aimed at changing the Constitution to allow for people under age 35 to serve as commander-in-chief. The effort will get significant paid support, including a print ad running in Tuesday's New York Times. The ad urges people to visit a website where they can sign a petition to support the changing Article II Section I of the U.S. Constitution, which sets the presidential age threshold at 35.

Captain Morgan's New York Times ad.
Captain Morgan's New York Times ad. Credit: Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan will also run a video ad (at top) that will get paid digital support. It stars several high-achieving under-35-year-olds, including Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist; Tiffany Pham, CEO of Mogul, a digital hub for women; Mickey Meyer, who co-founded the online comedy network Jash; Elliot Sanchez, founder of mSchool, an education technology company; and Dan Friedman, founder of Thinkful, an online school for software engineering.

While the effort seems like a marketing stunt timed to get attention just as election season heats up, a Diageo marketer indicated the brand was serious about the push.

"It's no secret that millennials have gradually been disengaging from the political process," Adrienne Cuschieri Grooms, a 33-year-old senior brand manager for Captain Morgan, said in a statement. "The fact that there are very few elected under-35s on Capitol Hill is symbolic of this disengagement, and bringing more young adults into the democratic system can only make our nation better. It's not like we're trying to create change for the sake of change. This is a very real and important issue. Millennials make up some of the most progressive, innovative, intelligent, and successful people in our country -- why shouldn't they be able to be president of the United States?"

To support the effort, the brand has created under35potus.com, which redirects visitors to petitions.whitehouse.gov, where they can sign the petition. Under Obama administration rules, if petitions gather 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the White House will issue an update on the request within 60 days. The campaign targets people ages 21 and older.

Diageo will also support the effort with an experiential campaign that includes a campaign-style bus tour. Agencies working on the campaign include Taylor Strategy for creative, VaynerMedia for social media strategy, Carat for media and Starpower for influencer engagement.

Captain Morgan's campaign comes in the wake of millennials overtaking baby boomers as the nation's largest living generation, according to population estimates released earlier this year and cited by the Pew Research Center. Millennials, considered anyone aged 18 through 34 in 2015, number 75.4 million, while there are 74.9 million baby boomers (ages 51 through 69), according to Pew.

Citizens must be at least age 25 to serve in the House of Representatives, while senators must be at least 30. Congressional lawmakers had an average age of 57 as of 2015, according to The Hill.

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