YMCA Australia has today reclaimed the Village People’s global hit of the same name, partnering with UK music legend and The Voice judge Boy George to re-create the iconic tune.
Through the re-interpretation of the iconic song, the YMCA aims to shine a light on the issues that Australia’s youth are facing today.
Boy George’s poignant version of YMCA with greater emphasis on the lyrics within the verses aims to capture the angst and despair of young people, tempered with a message of hope.
With this new version, the YMCA implores young people to speak up, and provides an online platform for Australia’s youth to contact the government on the issues they’d like addressed.
Young people are invited to visit whynot.org to send those in power a letter on the issue that matters most to them.
The inspiration for the campaign was born from new research by YMCA Australia, which revealed the primary issues facing today’s youth where they feel unheard and powerless.
Alarmingly, 74 per cent of Australians aged 13 to 22 don’t believe those in power are making the best decisions possible for the future of young people.
Additionally, 66 per cent stated that they feel their age prevents them from having a voice in society that people listen to, while 57 per cent believe social media is the only avenue to have their voice heard by society and those in power.
Of the issues that are important to Australia’s youth but feel they aren’t being heard on, youth unemployment ranked first (87 per cent), closely followed by marriage equality (86 per cent) and mental health (80 per cent).
YMCA Australia CEO Melinda Crole said the findings were a key reason behind the organisation taking such a passionate public stance through its reinterpretation of the Village People’s song.
“Young people have overwhelmingly told us that their voices are not being given a say in decisions made by governments, institutions and employers that affect their lives,” she said.
“They have ideas, energy, dreams and visions for a better future, but too many are drowning in despair because they feel ignored.
“Every day, politicians are making decisions that will impact the country and the futures of our young people without even bothering to ask them what they think, and it’s simply not good enough.”
Daniel Goodfellow, managing director of Be Counsel, said: “Campaigns like this work when there is substance underneath them. In that sense, this initiative signals a renewal for an organisation that has operated in Australia for over 150 years.
“We salute the bravery of YMCA in tackling the elephant in the room head on and embracing this song and all the powerful messages it contains.”
The ‘Why Not?’ campaign signifies a rebirth of the YMCA, currently known for ‘gyms and swims’, to an organisation dedicated to young people.
Marketing agency: Be Counsel
Executive creative director – Simon Hammond
Executive producer – Daniel Goodfellow
Director – Nick Sullivan
Director of photography – Daniel Coolahan
Editor – Bruce Walters
Production manager – Bronte Jovevski
Agency producer – Ryan Barwood
Communications lead – Elise Parker
Client: YMCA Australia
Executive manager of communications – Dianne McDonald
Group manager of corporate strategy – Cinzia Marrocco
Media relations: Alt/Shift
Social agency: Social Media Ready
Digital agency: Pretty Neat