Feb 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mike Bloomberg embraces the meme

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg is working with Instagram meme influencers with millions of followers to help promote his presidential campaign in paid posts, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It’s an innovative and fresh strategy that reflects the prowess of Bloomberg’s massive and well-funded digital operation — and it specifically targets Generation Z, a demographic that might know the least about the former New York mayor.

via Instagram

Details: Bloomberg's campaign is working with Meme 2020, a company created by Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of the meme media and marketing company Jerry Media.

  • Bloomberg had sponsored posts on multiple accounts with more than a million followers, including Jerry Media’s account, with more than 13.3 million followers.
  • The posts fake direct messages of the candidate asking Instagram influencers to help make him "the cool candidate."
  • Some users were unsure if the posts were legitimate or a coordinated joke from the meme accounts.

What they're saying: “We’re trying to be innovative with how we’re translating the campaign message on social, trying to do it how the internet actually works,” an aide to the Bloomberg campaign told the NYT. “Tweeting from @mikebloomberg is a very 2008 strategy.”

  • “The way Trump’s campaign is run is extremely social first,” the aide continued. “We’re trying to break the mold in how the Democratic Party works with marketing, communication and advertising, and do it in a way that’s extremely internet and social native.”

Go deeper: Bloomberg's big bet on the power of money

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Black Americans' competing crises

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For many black Americans, this moment feels like a crisis within a crisis within a crisis.

The big picture: It's not just George Floyd's killing by police. Or the deaths of EMT Breonna Taylor and jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Or the demeaning of birdwatcher Christian Cooper and journalist Omar Jimenez. Or the coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate harm to African Americans. It's that it's all happening at once.