Why Is Clinton Offering Swag To College Kids?

Recently, there has been some press coverage highlighting Hillary Clinton's campaign promotion of her line of "back to school" accessories. Reaching out to the college-age voter audience is clearly an important strategy for Clinton, whose liberal politics align well with the mainstream worldview of that generation. But I wonder if doing so in the form of offering "swag" isn't a bit risky.

History has proven the difficulty of older people offering up lifestyle items to young people, who are in a lifestage where one is very committed to creating a personal identity in part through choices in taste and style. Clinton is clearly not trying to launch a new trend in college fashion, and I suspect students will recognize that the gear is primarily a way to promote her presidential candidacy. Still, the fact that she is offering backpacks and gear to "start that college mixer" may put her perilously close to reaching for "cool" in the eyes of young voters. It's possible that this may light up the "poser radar" of young people for whom authenticity is a sine qua non.



I'm reminded of an outing I once led in search of "what is cool" for a major snack food manufacturer. One thing that I learned is that if someone from the older generation begins to show an interest in something, that immediately brands it as not cool. I worry that Clinton’s attempts to sidle up to this young audience with her backpacks and party suggestions may become a case in point.

As a fan of Hillary Clinton, I can only hope that she did due diligence in the 18-t-24 audience to ensure that the items she's offering make it over the barrier of "cool enough" for her audience, which obviously recognizes that the gear is primarily way to promote her presidential candidacy.

As my 20-something children would be quick to tell me, I'm not personally "cool enough" to guess the answers.

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