#OnlyTheYoung is a trending topic on Twitter today thanks to the release of a political ad (below) that uses the Taylor Swift song “Only the Young” as its soundtrack. The ad, a get-out-the-vote effort, was shared on social media this morning by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, from California’s 15th congressional district. Swalwell, a Democrat, launched a political action committee called Remedy PAC in May.
Though this is reportedly the first time Swift has authorized the use of one of her songs in a political ad, “Only the Young,” which originally dropped on Jan. 31 in conjunction with the release of Swift’s Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” is inherently political. At the time, Entertainment Weekly called it a “political anthem,” and Rolling Stone’s Claire Shaffer noted that,
The track soundtracks Swift’s recent political awakening—documented in the movie—making reference to Election Night 2016 as well as the devastating school shooting epidemic that has rocked the U.S. over the past decade. Swift concludes that “only the young” can save the future and create change. “They’re not gonna help us/Too busy helping themselves/They aren’t gonna change this/We’re going to do it ourselves,” she sings, backed by a children’s choir.
Without explicitly endorsing a specific candidate, the new ad is clearly pro-Biden and anti-Trump.
According to Ad Age Campaign Scorecard—an ongoing project led by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown in partnership with Kantar/CMAG—Remedy PAC has spent negligible sums on measured media since its launch, and has no advance bookings of TV ad space logged as of today. Social sharing by Swift fans and fellow Democrats seems likely to rack up plenty of earned media value for the new ad in the absence of paid placements.