We’re days before another major election, so you know what that means.
Hollywood stars shooting celebrity PSAs to boost the proverbial “Blue Wave.” Only the results this time around are far from viral.
The star-studded “Save the Day” video, dropped weeks before the 2016 presidential election, drew massive views. Today, the number stands at more than 8 million, a figure likely amassed during that year’s campaign.
The clip, directed by Joss Whedon, featured some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
- Scarlett Johansson
- Robert Downey, Jr.
- Don Cheadle
- Martin Sheen
- Julianne Moore
We all know what happened next, and it wasn’t Hillary Clinton take the oath of office. Some cultural observers thought Hollywood might take a knee following Donald Trump’s improbably victory.
Instead celebrities doubled down.
Trump taunted Tinsel Town during his successful campaign. He pitted their “elitist” attitudes against Joe and Jane Sixpack.
It worked, to an extent. That wasn’t the hardest blow against these videos, though.
Hollywood didn’t take the hint.
In the last few weeks we’ve seen a flurry of celebrity PSAs hoping to smite President Trump’s agenda. Only the YouTube views on the clips haven’t exactly matched “Save the Day.”
“Because It Matters,” courtesy of the progressive group Independence USA, gathered Tea Leoni, Olivia Munn, Ellen Pompeo, Cher, Minnie Driver and Jodie Foster to push Democrats to the polls.
The view tally? A lackluster 12,600 as of Oct. 31.
Everytown for Gun Safety injects gun control lectures into Hollywood scripts. So it’s hardly surprising to see it created its own celebrity PSA. Kevin Bacon, Moore, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charlize Theron, Will Arnett and Mike Colter all lend a hand.
The video’s view count? 14,300 and counting.
March for Our Lives joined the fray recently via it’s “My First Time” celebrity PSA. Yes, the group swiped the theme from Lena Dunham’s 2016 video. For this edition, the clip snared Johansson, Cheadle, Ruffalo, Rosario Dawson, Chadwick Boseman as well as the gaffe prone David Hogg.
This clip is doing far better, gathering more than 69,000 views in relatively short span.
Swing Left’s new clip, Time to Be the Hero, disabled the comments section on YouTube. Curious.
“Our government keeping children in cages… that is really happening,” the stars say. It also was happening under President Barack Obama, but that factoid didn’t make it into any celebrity PSA then or now.
The day-old video has 21 views.
The Time Is Now has just over a thousand videos after going live Oct. 3.
What do these videos almost always have in common?
- They preach to the choir
- The tone is either sanctimonious, fearful or downright condescending
- The facts aren’t always facts
- They repeat key phrases in robotic fashion
- The attempts at humor are … attempts.
- Julianne Moore must make an appearance
- The stars often avoid makeup and are shot from unflattering camera angles
Now, some of the aforementioned videos have other viewing streams. Lena Dunham, for example, Tweeted out her appearance in The Last Weekend clip, inspiring thousands of views. These celebrity PSAs shouldn’t be taken lightly.
There’s an X factor here, though. Hollywood’s collective voice against then-candidate Trump was loud, unfocused and angry. Several stars, like Sarah Silverman, evoked Hitler comparisons.
That tone is almost quaint given the vitriol spewed in recent months.
There’s no doubt hardcore progressives are raring to vote Nov. 6. Will these videos inspire any independents to do the same? Could even proud liberals be aghast at the tone displayed here?
The Kavanaugh factor can’t be overlooked.
The one clip that actually could change some hearts and minds also is faring poorly. Jennifer Lawrence embraced her political side a few years ago. It echoed her celebrity peers down to the last syllable. It also played out as ugly and divisive, like when she dreamed of throwing a martini in President Trump’s face.
Lawrence cut a video trying to swing Coloradans to battle gerrymandering.
The video is everything those other clips aren’t. It avoids the repetitive phrasing, profanity, forced humor and condescension. Instead, it lays out the issue and suggests viewers do the math.
It might just make a difference, on paper. The video, from a group dubbed Fair Maps, has only 1,700 views since Oct. 18 despite her celebrity cache.
In today’s highly charged political climate, Lawrence’s sober video may be the exception that proves the rule.
UPDATE: Even Comedy Central, known for its hard-left content, is mocking these celebrity PSAs.