Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mike Bloomberg's campaign is hoping influencers will make him look hip to voters

Illustration for article titled Mike Bloombergs campaign is hoping influencers will make him look hip to voters
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

Mike Bloomberg is a 77-year-old multi-billionaire and former New York City mayor. He is not, to put it lightly, the kind of guy who the average young voter thinks of as relatable. Still, fueled by his bottomless coffers, Bloomberg’s campaign team has been working hard to try to figure out ways to shift his image from money-bloated geriatric to energetic presidential candidate. The current plan, as The Daily Beast’s Scott Bixby reports, involves paying influencers to talk about how great the would-be Democratic president really is.

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As hilariously incongruous as “Bloomberg: Cool guy” looks to anyone with a passing familiarity with the man, that hasn’t stopped his campaign from heading to Tribe, a service that Bixby explains “connects social media influencers with the brands who want to advertise to their followers,” in order to recruit an army of goofballs to hype up Bloomberg.

“For a fixed $150 fee, the Bloomberg campaign is pitching micro-influencers—someone who has from 1,000 to 100,000 followers, in industry parlance—to create original content” advertising the former mayor’s presidential bid, Bixby writes. The article quotes the Tribe message, which asks influencers to post “well lit” photos or videos that explain “why Mike Bloomberg is the electable candidate who can rise above the fray [and] work across the aisle so ALL Americans feel heard & respected.” It continues, funnily enough, by asking influencers to “be honest, passionate, and be yourself” while making their paid posts. Oh yeah, and no “profanity, nudity, or ‘overtly negative’ content” is allowed either.

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Fun!

This kind of approach, which Bixby sees as part of a campaign “geared toward collecting content that can later be shared” in order to “[create] a stock-image library of well-crafted, ‘organic’-seeming still images and videos,” is a pretty ridiculous, cash-assisted inversion of the sort of groundswell youth support that his competitors for the Democratic nomination, notably Bernie Sanders, have enjoyed. It all becomes even more goofy when you see some of what Bloomberg’s campaign has been doing on social media in an attempt to make him seem hip.

Here, for example, is a video that remixes Trump’s post-acquittal speech into him repeating “lie” and “unfair” over and over again atop a dozy electronic beat while a CGI gingerbread man with flaming feet dances around the screen. This... highly meme-able gingerbread figure returns for other clips of Trump lying about stuff. It’s only a matter of time (and money), we assume, before the dancing cookie goes viral.

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Elsewhere, we see cool stuff like retweets about rally crowd sizes with the eyeball emoji, more of those brand Twitter-style conversational messages that the campaign continues to insist we have to bear witness to, and a post imploring those following Bloomberg to “check out this cool new trailer” for the new Fast And The Furious movie.

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We don’t know about you, but all of this seems to be working. Knowing that he’s just like us—watching action movies in a private theater, wiping popcorn butter from his fingers with wads of hundred dollar bills, and wondering Fast And The Furious villains could’ve been stopped in their tracks if only they’d been subjected to stop and frisk policies—Bloomberg suddenly seems just like a waxier, wealthier version of our own cool young friends. Obviously, influencers would be flocking to support someone who so capably represents their lifestyle, even without being paid to do it. If you need any more convincing, just remember that he’s the kind of guy who refers to supporters as his “peeps” and tweets using the praying hands emoji.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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