The Democratic candidate’s recent sponcon doesn’t seem to be convincing people he’s any more relatable, hip, or funny than he was before.
The advertising industry that thrives on Instagram seems to love Michael Bloomberg’s U.S. presidential campaign — one marketer who posted a Bloomberg meme told the Times it was the most successful ad he’s ever posted. But the onslaught of critical comments on the memes raises questions about the effectiveness of the campaign — both for Bloomberg and for the influential meme pages that risk losing their cool by promoting a candidate who’s viewed by many of their followers as an out-of-touch billionaire trying to buy his way into an election.
“I’m not surprised by the negative reaction,” Travis N. Ridout, a professor of government and public policy at Washington State University who researches online political advertising, told Recode. “Especially given the media attention that he is getting for this, people could feel like they’re being duped or manipulated.”
Many of the negative comments specifically called out Bloomberg for his wealth — labeling him as an “oligarch.” Others accused him of trying to distract from his checkered past on racial issues, which includes instituting controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing in New York City that disproportionately impacted people of color.
“A lot of times, memes are seen as organic, created by people who have something funny to say,” Ridout said. But “to the extent that this is seen as something that is paid for by a rich guy” then it may not have the same impact.