The No campaign turned to High School Musical memes and videos of gamers playing “Subway Surfers” to confront its biggest problem: getting its message across to Gen Z.
Australians aged 18 to 34 are the only group to consistently say they will vote yes for Indigenous Voice in Parliament, according to recent polls by Redbridge and Newspoll.
But Fair Australia, which is one of two groups behind the No campaign, has found a home with Gen Z on TikTok, with videos attracting a staggering 10 million views on the favored app by adolescents and young adults since August 27.
The No campaign posts up to five videos a day to reach the eight million Australians over the age of 18 who use TikTok every day, with the 18-35 age group making up 71% of the app’s users globally.
“While they (Yes) create expensive ads with celebrities, we engage directly with voters where they are,” a senior No campaign source told Daily Mail Australia.
Fair Australia recently used a viral clip from The Summer I Turned Pretty. Iconic ‘Connie Baby’ trend attracted 86.8 million views on TikTok worldwide
Air Australia uses footage from High School Musical when the cast sings “Stick to the Status Quo” – particularly the repeated “no” lines in the song
Some of the campaign’s tactics could confuse older generations.
Several videos feature voiceovers discussing specific voice details over videos of people playing the video game Subway Surfers, a single-player mobile game that has more recently been integrated into TikTok.
It’s now often used on the platform alongside unrelated voiceovers, in an attempt to get users to stop scrolling and look at the outcome of the game.
For the No campaign, TikToks broadcast anti-Voice messages.
Another popular TikTok from Fair Australia features a trending sound clip from the incredibly popular streaming show The Summer I Turned Pretty that says “that’s one hundred percent your look, Connie baby.”
It shows Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and No activists at several events recently, carrying campaign items.
The hashtag #conniebaby on TikTok has racked up 86.8 million views worldwide after a scene from the Amazon Prime show went viral online.
Another video of Senator Price detailing his reasons for voting no was viewed 103,000 times in 24 hours.
In another clip, Fair Australia uses footage from High School Musical – which many Gen Z users grew up with and feel a sense of nostalgia.
One TikTok features the song “Stick to the Status Quo” where the chorus repeats the words “No, no, no” over and over.
“This content is primarily seen by young Australians and hundreds of thousands of young women – a key demographic targeted by the corporate-backed ‘Yes’ campaign,” a source within the campaign said.
“It’s clear that the truth about how divisive the Voice will be for our country resonates with young Australians.”
And it seems the Yes23 campaign has taken note of what works best for the No camp on the app, launching its own version of the Subway Surfers videos.
The Subway Surfers video published on July 25 by Fair Australia
Subway Surfers video released on September 11 – Yes23
On Monday, Yes23 uploaded a video of Dean Parkin explaining the importance of voice, paired with a video of a Subway Surfer game.
Yes23 posted just 22 videos on TikTok, compared to Fair Australia’s 152, and attracted just 50,000 likes and 3,584 followers.
Fair Australia has 38,000 subscribers and 881,000 likes, with some individual videos racking up a million views.
But TikTok isn’t the only platform to reach voters on
Older generations tend to rely on Facebook and Twitter as news sources, and Yes23 has used these platforms far more than TikTok.
The Yes23 Facebook page has 62,000 followers and 49,000 likes, compared to Fair Australia’s 35,000 followers and 18,000 likes.
These Yes platforms reach millions of people every week, according to campaign statistics.
In another clip, Fair Australia used footage from High School Musical – which many Gen Z users grew up with and feel a sense of nostalgia towards
And the campaign’s efforts on more traditional media are increasingly translating into spaces like TikTok, where Yes supporters are taking it upon themselves to create their own content.
A Yes23 spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia campaigners would work to reach voters “in a variety of ways between now and October 14”.
“Across social media platforms, we reach millions of Australians every week. On the ground, our 35,000 volunteers are out in force every day, in train stations and shopping centers, knocking on doors and organizing community forums.
“For those who haven’t yet made their decision, we encourage people to find their local Yes group, get informed and be part of what will be a unifying moment for Australians.”