Mike Bloomberg has been paying Instagram accounts with large followings to post memes that make him appear funny or cool as part of his Democratic presidential bid.
“Mike Bloomberg 2020 has teamed up with social creators to collaborate with the campaign, including the meme world,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told CNBC. “While a meme strategy may be new to presidential politics, we’re betting it will be an effective component to reach people where they are and compete with President Trump’s powerful digital operation.”
Just one problem: One does not simply create paid memes. Payment inherently destroys a key trait of their very essence: spontaneity.
A real meme will spread within a culture exactly because its core idea resonates on its own merits — creativity with pure intent. Bloomberg's lack of understanding is not surprising. He seems to have been able to buy everything else. Why not memes?
No, Bloomberg's strategy is more likely to spawn memes mocking his very meme campaign. Everyone will still be talking about him — “no publicity is bad publicity” — but it's a stretch to think this would be the outcome his digital media consultants intended.
Mike Bloomberg trying to get in the meme game. pic.twitter.com/4cYbF1CdD0— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 13, 2020
Breitbart summed it up rather succinctly with a headline referring to Bloomberg's strategy as an "Astroturfed Meme Campaign."
The most expensive FellowKids.gif in history: https://t.co/GGXgEh10DP— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 13, 2020
The Bloomberg campaign is working with Meme 2020, a new company formed by some of the people behind a group of meme accounts with a collective 60 million followers https://t.co/SYB2Ubd2ds pic.twitter.com/k1hYL0ahLo— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 13, 2020
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore