In November, I received a PR email with “#Basic” in the subject and an opening line that began with, “We have some V lit news.” Having been hit so hard with “How do you do, fellow kids?” vibes that I’ve only now regained consciousness, my editors are forcing me to write about it.
(What’s that you say, now? Someone’s been writing under my byline this entire time? That would explain why my bosses sat me at a desk and shouted “Blog!” as soon as I woke up, instead of, you know, asking me how my long nap was. Anyway, that’s a topic for another time.)
The email that got us all to this point was from a company representing Busch Beer, a sponsor of 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick.
It used lines like “V lit,” “Millennial-inspired,” “lit AF” and “#Swag” unironically, despite the fact that millennials were born between 1981 and 1996 and some are nearing their 40s, to communicate that if Harvick didn’t win the 2018 Cup Series title, Busch would have him drive a “scheme with a hilarious nod to the younger generation” this year.
The email included a photo of what the car might look like, which is above and looks, probably purposefully, like a grade-school collage. The mockup includes words and phrases like “fleek af,” “shade,” “YASSS,” “turnt,” “stay woke,” which NASCAR certainly is not, and, my personal favorite, “YOLO SWAG”—fine, except for the last one, when used casually, but cringe-worthy when used by brands to be edgy. Plus, half of the phrases will probably be out of circulation by the time the car runs anyway.
The car in the photo is actually David Gilliland’s Daytona 500 car from 2016, pulled from Getty Images since it was almost entirely white due to a lack of sponsors. The person who edited it left Gilliland’s name above the door.
Since perpetual 20-year-old Joey Logano ended up winning the title, Harvick has to run the final version objectively bad paint scheme at the All-Star Race in May. Busch recently started tweeting about it again, in a thread using every millennial cliché possible and asking people to “help out, fam,” when it comes to voting on and deciding what should go on the car.
It would be interesting to know the actual demographics of people voting in the polls, but all of the talk still prompted my bosses to ask what the deal was.
“yo @alanis.king is this for real?” Jalopnik editor-in-chief Patrick George asked in our Slack room.
“Yes,” I responded.
“lol,” he said.
“it’s so bad,” our features editor, Raphael Orlove, chimed in.
“that’s disgusting,” our deputy editor, Mike Ballaban, who isn’t supposed to be working right now anyway, added.
“oh hey my car,” our social editor Aaron Brown said.
This led them all to decide that I should tell the world about this, so, here you have it. Harvick will run some version of this car this year. Perhaps the scheme will look better by then, and perhaps brands and older people will learn that “millennials” stopped being a catch-all phrase for “kids” 15 years ago.
Regardless, if you don’t mind, I’ll go back to being unconscious now—or whatever the opposite of “lit AF” is.