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No Matter Your Demographic, Tax Season Sucks [VIDEOS]
Posted on March 4th 2014
It’s March, which means we’re in the thick of it. And no, I’m not talking about winter. I’m talking about the barren and desolate wasteland that is the American Tax Season. Anyone else ever noticed that winter is bleak and full of despair...and so is tax season, which occurs at roughly the same time? I suspect Mother Nature and Uncle Sam are in cahoots...
Look, taxes suck. Figuring out how much we owe or how much we’ll get back sucks. Thankfully, though, there’s a surprising bright spot on the horizon: the new ad campaign from H&R Block. Seriously. Featuring the strangely comical Kenny Mayne (ESPN) and members of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, their new project has legs, funny and satirical ones, thanks to the St. Louis, Missouri-based agency Elasticity.
What H&R Block faces is the 21–35 age demographic, which often shies away from in-person tax preparation and has lost some touch with the brand in favor of competitors like TurboTax who are perhaps deemed easier and cheaper.
Enter the poster child — the modern day Hipster, sitting in that soft middle of caricature and the masses, skinny jean-clad with a carefree vegan lifestyle and bike chains in hand.
And thus, what the brand proposes is to have a little fun with Hipsters, play up the stereotypes, create content that breaks through the clutter of today’s digital media space. While hipsters may not be able to claim a farm tax credit for growing arugula on their fire escape, they still really want to get the most out of their taxes — extra pocket cash that allows them to spend more money on their favorite obscure bands and thrift store purchases. Which means they should use a company that can get them the biggest refund possible, right?
The Hipster Tax Crisis
“It’s a little known fact that on average, 77.6% of Hipsters file tax returns with mistakes, losing money each year and further deepening the growing issue known as Hipster Tax Crisis.”
Hilarious and irreverent, and developed in partnership with St. Louis-based digital marketing and PR firm Elasticity with paid integration strategy by Initiative, H&R Block’s “Hipster Tax Crisis” (HipsterTaxCrisis.com) relies on shareable content (#HipsterTax), including videos featuring Mayne and Upright Citizens Brigade, as well as a tax rap from Chicago comedy-music act The Flavor Savers to get its message across.
Additionally, Elasticity created a series of tax facts, all aimed at the Hipster culture:
HIPSTER TAX FACT #524 — You must report your income, even if you think it’s such an obscure number that no one else would truly understand.
HIPSTER TAX FACT #426 — The IRS e-file system is currently incompatible with all vintage typewriters, even if your coffee shop has WiFi.
[That last one is my favorite, by the way.]
The platform at HipsterTaxCrisis.com is meant to be easily accessed online or via mobile, allows users to nominate a “Hipster Of The Year,” and has a “Hipsterize Me” app, which allows you to add hipster features (oversized glasses, skinny scarves, beanie caps, etc.) to your photographs. Pushing these to Instagram and Facebook links the photographs to a faux website set up for the purpose of the campaign, HipsterTaxCrisis.com.
The site allows visitors to learn more about the tongue and cheek tax crisis facing the Hipster demographic and share their own stories of deduction nightmares and organic, rooftop farming. Plus, for each bit of content shared using #HipsterTax, H&R Block will make a charitable contribution to Covenant House, which serves homeless youth nationally. So not only do users get to laugh a little at themselves and their friends, but they also get to do some good in the world — all while learning about the benefits H&R Block can provide during the tax season.
The Big Finish: The 1st IRONY GAMES!
Ultimately, and maybe not so ironically, the campaign will culminate on April 1 in Seattle, Washington, with the first annual IRONY GAMES. Music, culture, food, charitable donations, and prizes for Best in Scarf, Best in Skinny Jeans, and the crowning of the first ever Hipster of the Year.
Makes you wonder if the King or Queen Hipster will abdicate the throne, since it’s gone so mainstream…
So Here’s the Skinny...
It’s innovative, it’s engaging, and it’s witty; that makes this campaign a winner for the demographic it’s trying to pull in. H&R Block isn’t necessarily viewed as the hippest brand on the street, but they’re hoping to change that with this compelling, content-driven campaign that pokes good-natured fun at Hipsters while drawing in the 25 to 31 year old crowd. They’re working hard to bring their brand into the NOW, and I’m excited to see how it plays out for them.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go grind some organic, home-roasted coffee on my fire escape...using a bicycle...and some luck.