Movement

Meme 2020

Meme 2020 was an online collective of content creators that worked in support of the failed Democratic presidential nomination campaign of former New York City Mayor and entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg. The collective was led by the CEO of the controversial online marketing company Jerry Media.

The collective made internet memes that promoted Bloomberg and his presidential campaign and paid to feature them on certain social media accounts. The strategy relied on the assumption that the collective was countering the successful use of memes by President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.

But the campaign drew criticism from other content creators, with some expressing the belief that it was an example of Bloomberg buying support.

Overview

In late 2019, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced his bid for the Democratic nomination for president. His campaign was focused on building its presence online. Among the things the campaign did was hire social media influencers and “meme” makers to promote Bloomberg.

The social media influencers and meme makers called their effort Meme 2020. The leader of the effort was Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of controversial online promotion outfit Jerry Media. Jerry Media is best known as the social media promoter of the Fyre Music Festival, which turned out to be a scam. Despite the involvement of Purzycki, the founder of Jerry Media, Elliot Tebele, did not participate in the Meme 2020 effort. [1]

Purzycki created the Meme 2020 effort by leveraging the relationships he formed at Jerry Media. He brought together the meme makers and the social media influencers who created the work. [2]

Members 

The members of Meme 2020 were among the largest accounts on Instagram. One of the members was the account known as “@GrapeJuiceBoys” which had more than 2.7 million followers. Memes were also run on Jerry Media’s page, which has more than 13.3 million followers. Another member was “@Tank.Sinatra” which has more than 2.3 million members. [3]

All of the Instagram meme accounts that participated in the Meme 2020 campaign were: “@MyTherapistSays,” “@WhitePeopleHumor,” “@TheFunnyIntrovert,” “@KaleSalad,” “@Sonny5ideUp,” “@Tank.Sinatra,” “@ShitheadSteve,” “@adam.the.creator,” “@moistbudda,” “@MrsDowJones,” “@TrashCanPaul,” “@cohmedy,” “@NeatDad,” “@FourTwenty,” “@GolfersDoingThings,” “@DrGrayFang,” “@MiddleClassFancy,” and “@DoYouEvenLift.” The accounts have a combined total of over 60 million followers. [4]

The memes run by the Meme 2020 members were fake direct messages from Mike Bloomberg. The faux-“direct messages” featured a meme promoting one of Bloomberg’s rivals, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Bloomberg asking the meme pages to make Bloomberg look cool. [5]

The Bloomberg campaign offered a reported $150 per meme for creators. Once some social media influencers heard about the Bloomberg campaign paying for content, they expressed a desire to work for the Bloomberg campaign. [6]

Leadership

Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of Jerry Media, was brought in to lead the campaign. He was not the only Jerry Media connection to the campaign; Evan Reeves, a creative director for Jerry Media, was the creator of the Bloomberg meme campaign. [7]

The primary liaison to the content creator community was George Resch. Resch is the founder of the “@Tank.Sinatra” account and is a director of influencer marketing at Brandfire. [8]

Controversies

The Meme 2020 effort generated mixed feelings among content creators. Some said that they thought the Bloomberg memes were effective; others thought they were terrible. [9]

“This is a clear example of what wealth can get you votes,” said a creator by the handle “@rebelwithoutapause_.” “Bloomberg’s a billionaire and is able to pull in endorsements like this.” [10]

Other influencers refused to work with Meme 2020 based on Bloomberg’s record. Josh Ostrovsky, who runs “@thefatjewish” which has over 11 million followers, was approached by the Bloomberg campaign but refused to participate based on Bloomberg’s opposition to marijuana legalization and support for “stop and frisk” policies. [11]

References

  1.    Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  2.     Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  3. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  4. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  5.      Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  6. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  7. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  8. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  9. Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  10.     Lorenz, Taylor. 2020. “Michael Bloomberg’S Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere”. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html. ^
  11. Pietsch, Bryan. 2020. “Here Are The Memes Mike Bloomberg’s Presidential Campaign Paid Influencers To Post On Instagram”. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-bloomberg-campaign-memes-paid-instagram-influencers-2020-2. ^
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