H&R Block Has Spent Most of This Tax Season Making Fun of Hipsters

Aren't they hairy and dumb?

Mocking hipsters was cool until H&R Block started doing it. (Actually, it's probably been passé for a while now. Really, it was so 2012.) Nonetheless, in an effort to reach millennials, the tax prep brand has been running a social media campaign titled "Hipster Tax Crisis."

The effort hinges mostly on the idea that anyone who fits one of many stereotypes that's been lobbed at the ill-defined group in recent years—e.g., horn-rimmed glasses—is probably bad at doing their taxes. As the Guardian points out, that's really not true—young people just seem to favor TurboTax.

In fairness, the campaign does include some decent zingers. "Growing organic arugula on a fire escape does not enable to you take a farm tax credit," reads one print ad (labeled as a "Hipster Tax Fact"). But a truly painful "Hipster Tax Rap" video more than compensates for the better moments.

It's good for brands to take risks, and to rib their consumers. But it's not exactly risky to keep beating a dead horse. Macklemore is mainstream. Hipsters, whoever they are, have won. And if a marketer is going to take aim at them, there's a high bar to beat in jeans brand Denham's delightful remake of American Psycho.

Also, treating a portion of your target demographic like a cheap piñata might not be the best way to grow your business in the cohort. But who cares. Hipsters don't have any money, and with ESPN personality Kenny Mayne as a spokesman, the sports junkies must be a lock.

Plus, H&R Block is going for the normcore set, which is much more fashionable these days.

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@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.