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

Go deeper

WSJ: Bloomberg pays Californians to support him on social media

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign is paying hundreds of Californians to regularly post endorsements about the billionaire on their personal social media accounts and send positive text messages to friends about the candidate on a regular basis, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The effort, which could cost millions of dollars, comes just weeks before California's March 3 primary and is one more tactic in the campaign's broader social media strategy, which includes paying meme influencers on Instagram.

Twitter suspends pro-Bloomberg accounts for spam and "platform manipulation"

Bloomberg rallies in Salt Lake City, Utah on Feb. 20. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Twitter has reportedly suspended about 70 accounts posting pro-Bloomberg content, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The big picture: The presidential campaign is paying Instagram, Facebook and Twitter users in California to post messages of support on their personal accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. That effort could "later be deployed nationwide," per WSJ.

Older candidates take the lead on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden — all close to 80 — are pushing the boundaries on social media, while their younger Democratic presidential rivals are comparatively staying out of the fray.

The big picture: President Trump's unexpected rise to political power has shown Democrats and world leaders the power of harnessing popular internet culture to get elected.