US billionaire and politician Mike Bloomberg has recruited some of the largest meme accounts on Instagram to promote his campaign to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. The results, as they say, are cringe.
We’ll get to the memes in a moment, but understanding why they’re so bad requires some rudimentary knowledge of who Bloomberg actually is.
The former mayor of New York City has emerged as a contender in the packed midfield of the Democratic Primary race, challenging folks like former Vice President Joe Biden in recent polls. He didn’t get there by accident: to date, Bloomberg has blown an estimated US$300 million (AU$446 million) on ads for his campaign, including roughly US$45 million (AU$66 million) on digital ads alone.
That figure vastly outstrips any of his competitors, causing current frontrunner Senator Bernie Sanders to accuse him of “thinking he can buy the election.”
We now know a huge portion of that ad spend has been diverted to Instagram, where the Bloomberg campaign has sought to collaborate with big-time meme accounts like FuckJerry, KaleSalad and Tank.Sinatra.
Those accounts, plus stacks more, unleashed a coordinated wave of sponsored posts for the Bloomberg this afternoon. Trading on the apparent weirdness of a 77-year-old reaching out to memers for support, the memes poke fun of Bloomberg while spreading awareness of his campaign to millions of people.
The posts present a bizarre but unified front for Bloomberg, with the obvious goal of swiping youth support from competitors like Sanders.
You get the idea.
You may note that not everyone is happy about seeing their feeds clogged with content promoting Bloomberg, and that’s not just because the guy is a literal billionaire.
In addition to pummelling his way into the conversation with ads, Bloomberg has faced scrutiny over a recently unearthed 2015 audio clip of him defending the NYPD use of “stop-and-frisk” policies and pushing minority youth “up against the walls” to search them.
There’s also the fact that compared to Sanders, a democratic socialist who promises to address wealth disparity in the US by raising taxes on the ultra-rich, Bloomberg seems less keen on cranking down on the top 1%. CBS News states Bloomberg would pay US$3.5 billion (AU$5.2 billion) less in tax under his plan than Sanders’ scheme.
More money for memes, we guess.
Bloomberg skipped the Iowa caucus and this week’s New Hampshire primary but plans to enter the fray on March 3, when 16 states across the nation will vote on who they’d like to lead the Democrats against US President Donald Trump on November 3.
The mind boggles. FuckJerry? FuckMe.Image: Drew Angerer / Getty Images / @FuckJerry / Instagram